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Here are some examples of the little quips and sometimes well-intentioned ways in which ageism gets expressed in daily life.

You Don't Look Old!

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Even a basic interaction with an older adult, wherein the person’s age is revealed, can trigger what seems to be an innocuous response: “Really? You don’t look seventy-eight!” As though first there is a way one must look at seventy-eight and second that it is a compliment not to appear so. What does a seventy-eight year old look like, and is it any better or worse than looking five or thirty-five? These compliments actually communicate affirmation of healthfulness while insinuating derision of age. By stating something to the effect of "That's great you don't look your age!" we are reaffirming to the recipient and ourselves that the last thing any of us wants to appear is... old.



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