Charles de Vilmorin

In 1990, artist Keith Haring created the “Radiant Baby” image, a drawing of a baby crawling with lines radiating from around the perimeter of the image outline to highlight the extreme reverence our society has for youth and the purity and goodness often associated with this stage of human development. 

Associating value and worth with only young age comes at a cost. We would all benefit from understanding that older adults are just as worthy and valuable as people of any other age in our society.   

The Linked Senior team believes in a world where people of all ages are respected and valued and since 2017, we have been leading the Old People Are Cool initiative to challenge the idea that only young people should be valued by society and featured in media stories. We have showcased thousands of media stories about very cool old people from around the world on social media, including our Twitter page that has more than five thousand followers.

Negative narratives around the aging body and the concept of beauty have been particularly harmful, especially for women. 

Sarah Thomas, Design and Aging Innovation Expert and CEO of Delight by Design shared with us that, “During my meetings with fashion and design experts like Business of Fashion, Stella McCartney, Andrew Rosen, Lululemon and Adidas, it’s clear there’s a heightened interest in brands understanding how we feel, how we move and how we want to experience life at every age. As we improve apparel and experience design, we must embrace the aging society and help shift the inherent ageist mindset globally. May we learn to delight the consumer, celebrate beauty and elevate our experiences at every age.”

With this in mind, Linked Senior and the Old People Are Cool initiative are very proud to be partnering with the residents at The Landing at Augusta Woods Senior Living, Fabletics, Great Age Movement and the YMCA of Greater Houston to host a fashion show on March 9, 2022 at 2 pm CST to raise awareness that beauty and fitness don’t end at any age. 

Meaghan McMahon

Residents will model Fabletics’ athletic wear apparel that day, and we will live stream the event nationally so that older adults around the nation will be empowered to continue to love themselves no matter their age, even when society keeps trying to take away their value and self-esteem.  

We also agree with Dr. Louise Aronson, who writes in her book “Elderhood,” that, “Since bodily changes with age are natural and universal, couldn’t clothes differently manifest style and sex appeal across all age groups? Presumably, they can and, certainly, they should. It’s not only fair and kind, but a considerable business opportunity languishing unclaimed in the marketplaces of clothing and fashion.”

We are certainly not alone in wanting to combat the harmful ageism that seems to pervade every aspect of our communities. Every day there are exciting new examples of people and organizations who are determined to tear down generational silos and bring back the idea that the elders of our communities should be listened to, respected, and valued.

To name just a few:

  • Ashton Applewhite continues to champion an all-age-friendly world with her book “This Chair Rocks” and her latest creation, “Old School,” a virtual clearinghouse of carefully vetted blogs, books, articles, videos, speakers, and other tools (workshops, handouts, curricula, etc.) to educate people about ageism and help dismantle it.
  • Ari Seth Cohen, an American photographer, filmmaker, and fashion blogger, has created a series of books (Advanced Style, Advanced Style Older and Wiser, and Advanced Love) to highlight older adults living life to the fullest in their own fashionable way. In 2015 New York Times fashion director, Vanessa Friedman, credited Cohen with helping to create the recent movement towards the fashion industry embracing older models.
  • Growing Bolder is a team of award-winning journalists, broadcasters and creatives all focused on sharing the inspirational stories of ordinary people living extraordinary lives after age 50.

Ready to join this movement and tear down the negative narratives around beauty and aging? Start by taking our Old People Are Cool oath: 

Join us on March 9 at the fashion show to have fun and support the anti-ageism cause! Contact Edward Craft, Lifestyle Director at The Landing at Augusta Woods, to learn more: [email protected].

Charles de Vilmorin is the CEO and co-founder of Linked Senior.

Meaghan McMahon, MSW, is the Director of Strategic Development at Linked Senior. Meaghan is also the Founder and Director of MBM Consulting, which she began in 2015. Since that time, she has worked with local government agencies, for-profit, not-for-profit and start-up organizations that serve older adults and their care partners. Last year, Meaghan earned her certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University. 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.