We ❤ Aging—Yes, We Do!

Office envelope with pen and handwritten text I AM TOO OLD, changed to NO ONE IS TOO OLD, to transform negative self-perceptions of aging to positive one and keep set goal or dream to follow

We (heart) aging: Age Friendly Seattle Anti-Ageism Community Training wants to be treated with respect and dignity, but “isms” get in the way. You know—racism, sexism, classism, and others. Two of those others are ageism (discrimination against older people because of negative and inaccurate stereotypes) and ableism (discrimination in favor of able-bodied people). Ageism and ableism are compounded by the other “isms,” and vice versa. Imagine how prejudice and discrimination might affect you as well as your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community.

Last fall, Age Friendly Seattle unveiled “We ❤ Aging” anti-ageism trainings that helped City of Seattle staff explore mindsets about aging and provide practical tips for becoming anti-ageist in their personal and professional lives.

City of Seattle proclamation for Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Seattle June 15, 2024

We are grateful for Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proclamation that June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Seattle, coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Based on staff and community feedback, Age Friendly Seattle also saw the opportunity to share information about the harm created by ageism. They set upon developing a special training that’s available for public use right now:

Learn more in “’Reimagining Aging’ Training: A New Resource to Deconstruct Ageism” (AgeWise King County, May 2024). Or go straight to the Anti-Ageism Training webpage and watch the training now. It takes about 45 minutes and is time well spent.

I encourage you to share those links with your networks and encourage them to share with family, friends, and neighbors. We are working to make Seattle a great place to grow up and grow old!

Age Friendly Washington State

I was thrilled to read this media release: “Washington joins age- and dementia-friendly networks” (Washington State Health Care Authority, 5/7/2024). Our state has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and the USAging Dementia-Friendly America network.

A screenshot of SeattleChannel's recording of a recent city council meeting

Click on the image above to watch the introduction of three prospective members of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services—Dr. Joel Domingo, Patricia Schnepf, and Dolores Wiens—at a Seattle City Council committee meeting, each of whom was confirmed (Seattle Channel, 5/8/2024).

Age Friendly Seattle joined the AARP Network in 2016 and launched programming in 2017. Puyallup was already on board. In recent years both Tacoma and White Salmon also joined. Each community’s action plan is unique, and AARP—both their nationwide Livable Communities branch and our Washington state chapter—have been tremendously helpful, providing sound advice and a wealth of resources.

I expect we’ll learn more about state involvement in both networks in the months to come.

Reframing Aging

Addressing ageism and ableism and emphasizing the importance of creating age-friendly communities, are all part of reframing aging. If you would like to learn more about these issues, I recommend two online resources:

  • National Center to Reframe Aging—dedicated to ending ageism by advancing an equitable and complete story about aging.
  • FrameWorks Institute—a think tank that helps organizations communicate social issues, including aging, in order to build public will and promote positive change.

Each of us is affected by ageism, ableism, and all “isms” in different ways—changing our lives in negative ways. Dismantling each of them is work that should involve every one of us.

Alex O'ReillyContributor Alex O’Reilly chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. She welcomes input from readers via e-mail (

This article appeared in the June 2024 issue of AgeWise King County.