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'A Natural, Powerful, Beautiful Part Of Life': Pushing Back Against Ageism With Ashton Applewhite

Ashton Applewhite is the author of "This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Twenty-first-century humans who make it to age 65 are tending to live longer than previous generations did – a pattern that Ashton Applewhite describes as a global demographic phenomenon and one that should be celebrated.

“There are real challenges associated with scaling up the support that an older population will require, but there are also amazing opportunities,” the author of “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism told St. Louis on the Air executive producer Alex Heuer in a conversation that aired Monday. “This is new – the social capital of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of more healthy, well-educated adults than ever before in human history. We need to tap into that.”

Applewhite, who was in St. Louis last Wednesday for a Novel Neighbor-sponsored event at the Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, is widely recognized as an expert on ageism and is also an activist and TED speaker.

She’s come to see aging itself as a “natural, powerful, beautiful part of life.” That wasn’t always her perspective, though.

“I started writing and thinking about this because I was afraid of getting old,” Applewhite explained. “I mean … I had not thought to challenge all these mainstream ideas about illness, about disability, about loss. The losses are real, but they’re made far worse by the way the culture frames them.”

Listen to the full discussion:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Jon Lewis give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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