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Take this Chair & Rock It!


PRC Title settlement reverse mortgages

“Will you still need me? / Will you still feed me? / When I’m 64? The Beatles’ popular tune hit the charts half a century ago (amazing, isn’t it?) during a youth-focused era when the advanced age of 64 seemed ancient to those whose mantra was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

Now Beatle Paul McCartney is a decade older than the song lyric, and just performed as part of an all-star line-up at Oldchella, a septuagenarian songfest that proved aging is a state of mind — especially if you’re among the Boomer generation, now 53-70 years old and 78 million strong.

Teachable Moments from Ageist Behavior

reverse mortgage newsBut ageism persists like shower mold, no matter how much effort we put into cleansing mass perception. And one 64-year-old is not going to take it anymore. Ashton Applewhite just published This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, and says someone telling her she “looks good for her age,” is a teachable moment in which to evolve ageist stereotypes and language.

In this time of massive social upheaval, Applewhite’s book is a breath of “fresh old air” for seniors, who, says the author, might better be called “olders” — because that’s what they are, and there is no shame in naming the life stage accurately. While seniors themselves have come up with numerous creative reframes for positive aging, it’s heartening to watch an author and activist use deep research to debunk myth after myth about later life, explaining the roots of ageism and how it divides and debases. She’s calling for “age pride” in the same way the women’s movement once called for consciousness-raising.

But she doesn’t expect everyone to jump onboard and agitate for social justice, which is good news for your reverse mortgage clients and prospects who are more introspective. The important point is to consider the information, and enter the conversation. “Everyone is aging, so the number of people who are open to thinking about this is enormous, and that’s the base of a movement. They could be butchers, they could be astronauts, they could be young and they could be old. Ageism cuts both ways and affects everyone, which is fundamental.”

Regardless of our current age, we can each become an old person in training, says Applewhite. “It’s just a mental trick, a way of connecting empathetically and imaginatively to your future self.

“The earlier we make that leap, the sooner our lives are stripped of the reflexive dread that makes aging in America so much harder than it has to be. You glimpse the territory ahead with an open mind, and you’re off and running. I think that’s powerful.”

A Tasteful Way to Tackle Ageism

There are myriad creative ways to implement Applewhite’s advice, such as what this New York City restaurant is doing: hiring grandmas in lieu of chefs! The “bevy of babushkas” is the brainchild of restaurateur Jody Scaravella, whose grandmother cooks hail from thirty cultures around the world, including Argentina, Algeria, Syria, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Liberia, Nigeria — and, of course, Italy. A pair of seasoned grandmas prepares each night’s fare.

Does hiring these mature women — “olders”, per Applewhite — work? “Each time these ladies are in the kitchen cooking, you have hundreds of years of culture coming out of their fingertips,” Scaravella says. “‘I regularly get phone calls from Australia, from England, and from Italy to book reservations. I’m always flattered by that’. And at the end of the night, there are often standing ovations for the nonnas – and the token grandpa, Giuseppe Freya, who hails from Calabria and makes all the pasta.”

The real question is: are the grandmothers wearing jeans while they cook?


Leave a Comment


  1. As a 66 year old grandma (who still feels around 25) I can certainly relate. As a reverse mortgage specialist I appreciate having some words of encouragement as I do my best to fight “ageism” talk among my peers and clients. Thank you! I’m about to buy the book to use in my own fight!

  2. As a 82 year old who feels 50 and still writing reverse mortgages, working on cars, and living like 50. I keep wondering when I will get and feel really old. Will it be 92 or 102?

    • That’s fantastic, Jim! It’s so true: our bodies may age but inside we still feel young. When my dad turned 75 he told me, “I look at the number and I can’t believe it; there’s a little boy in there!” Now 90+, he still acts like he’s 50.

      Keep up the great attitude and good work, and do pay attention to your body’s needs ~

  3. Just remember “Older is NOT Elderly or Helpless”

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