Simon Roundtable Exposes Growing Ageism As Seniors Organize


Between forced layoffs, an increase of profiling in the workforce and a moving goalpost for the age to collect maximum social security benefits, seniors are beginning to organize in the growing battle against ageism with the outcome tied to their very survival.

All these issues and more were addressed as Assembly member Jo Anne Simon (D-Downton Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill) and Radical Age Movement Founder Alice Fisher held a roundtable discussion last night to give information on retirement plans, health care, renters and homeowner’s financial support, service opportunities and ageism.

Jo Anne Simon
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon

“We decided to do this roundtable for those people primarily who are not yet retired, who are thinking about retiring, what their options are, what kind of financial considerations they need to take into consideration and what they might want to do with their time,” said Simon, at the event held at NYU Tandon MakerSpace, 6 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. 

Fisher, 74, and her husband Josh, 76, started the Radical Age Movement three years ago as an effort to challenge traditional notions of ageing. Fisher is retired from the office of State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan). As a long time social justice advocate, she is developing anti-ageism programs devoted to transforming attitudes about age in our youth-oriented society.

“We are building an inter-generational movement dedicated to confronting eradicating age discrimination and its impact on older adults in all areas of cultural, professional and community life,” according to a statement on their website.

Fisher emphasized how the social security full-benefit retirement age increase will hurt senior citizens who are looking to retire at 65. The social security full-benefit retirement age is increasing gradually because of legislation passed by Congress in 1983. Senior citizens are questioning retirement at the age of 65 because of the 24 percent increase in benefits if they wait until they are 70, she said.

Fisher explained how senior citizens face the issue of ageism everywhere from the media, by their families, workplace and by the government.

One senior in attendance, who identified himself only as James, spoke out about his encounter with ageism in the workplace, “I had a job interview four years ago and it went really well and I had three separate interviews with the same employer. I got to the last hour of the third interview and the last question as I was getting up to leave was, ‘Oh by the way how old are you?’” said James.

“Everything had gone so well I didn’t see any reason to withhold and I just said ‘I am x’ because I don’t say it anymore. Their entire face just changed, ‘Oh we thought you were much younger.’ they said and I didn’t get the job.”

Fisher’s goal for the Radical Age Movement is to bring ageism into the same category as sexism, racism and heterosexism. Fisher and her team will voice their concerns at the second rally for age justice at Union Square Park in May of 2019.

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