Still Kicking: Confronting Aging and Ableism in the Wake of the Pandemic

Headshot of Ashton Applewhite

This podcast episode is the third installment of our special series featuring conversations from the 2021 CABHI Summit and Rotman Research Institute Conference. 


What would COVID-19 mortality rates look like if we had known from the very beginning of the pandemic that the virus would also affect young and healthy people?

This is the question that begins Ashton Applewhite’s fireside chat, featured on this episode of CABHI’s Community of Innovation podcast, where she exposes the ageist and ableist attitudes behind the neglect and marginalization of older adults witnessed throughout the pandemic.

Applewhite argues that the global impact of ageism and ableism has conditioned us to see older people and those living with disabilities, including cognitive impairments like dementia, as less valuable to society.

Where do these ideas come from and how can we overcome them?

Listen to this episode to hear Applewhite tackle these important questions, and also prescribe her solution for a more inclusive society where everyone can be respected and valued regardless of their age or ability.


More on Ashton Applewhite

Author and activist Ashton Applewhite has been recognized by the New York Times, the New Yorker, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, speaks widely at venues around the world, including the TED mainstage and the United Nations; has written for Harper’s, Playboy, and the New York Times; and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? – a blog where people can anonymously ask for advice on topics surrounding ageism. Ashton Applewhite has been named one of PBS Next Avenue’s 50 Influencers in Aging, and one of the world’s 100 inspiring women who are committed to social change, by Salt magazine.

To learn more about Ashton Applewhite, or her book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, visit


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