There will always be competition for jobs. But, there doesn’t need to be ageism and a perceived generational divide when dealing with employment.
In order to build sustained long term prosperity for the United States of America, we need to embrace the skills, talents and abilities of older women. Ageist misconceptions and bias may cloud our vision, but the economics and demographics paint a compelling picture—economic growth depends on our ability to create and support vibrant multigenerational workplaces.
Imagine you recently lost your spouse of many years. You’ve mourned her or his passing, and after careful consideration, you have decided that it’s time to sell the house and move into an assisted living facility. You meet with the facility director and she gives you advice on how to pack up your home and make the transition into your new apartment, encouraging you to bring whatever you like to make this new home feel familiar, comfortable and safe.
In 2007, Heartland Alliance, the Midwest’s leading anti-poverty organization, identified the lack of affordable housing as a critical issue for low-income LGBT older adults in Chicago. In 2011, Heartland Housing (the Alliance’s affordable housing development arm) partnered with Center on Halsted (Chicago’s community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons [LGBT]) and won approval to develop a city-owned site into one of the country’s first “LGBT-friendly” senior affordable housing buildings.
The email from my client caught my attention. It came more than a year after we had closed financing for the “LGBT-Friendly” Town Hall Apartments in Chicago. Town Hall Apartments provides housing for low-income older adults (ages 55 and older) a few blocks from the ivy-covered outfield walls at Wrigley Field. The building’s Tenancy Policy Statement is straightforward:
Born and raised on an Illinois dairy and grain farm, I moved to Chicago in the 1970s in search of a more gay friendly place to live. My first apartment in Chicago was in the Lakeview neighborhood in an area known as “Boystown,” just blocks from Wrigley Field. Several years later, I reluctantly had to leave this neighborhood as the rent became too expensive.
I hope Lena Dunham views this as the compliment it’s meant to be: I’d like to appoint her the unofficial spokesperson for cognitive aging.