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Let’s #DisruptAgeism Together

Internalized Ageism as a Barrier to Mental Health
Fri, 08/26/2016 - 9:00am to 11:00am | 2 CEUs
E. Ayn Welleford , MSG, PhD, AGHEF
Chair & Associate Professor
Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Gerontology
The Pavilion At Williamsburg Place
5483 Mooretown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23188


Ageism is a well-documented, systemic phenomenon whereby prejudice toward aging and older adults is expressed explicitly through actions and behaviors and implicitly through attitudes, beliefs and values. Ageism is perpetuated through the common use of certain words and phrases that normalize age-based prejudice into culturally accepted, everyday discourse. In short, ageism is contagious, it is a socially transmission disease.

The momentum to expose and eradicate ageism is mounting on a national level and decades of research devoted to the study of ageism is being translated and disseminated to wider audiences. There is still much work to be done to create a “new lens” in which we challenge society’s long standing view of aging as deterioration and decline. This presentation will describe how subtle language based age discrimination and microagression impact aging anxiety and internalized ageism.


After attending this session, participants will be able to discuss:

  • How ageism can be harmful to our self-concept and BPSS health outcomes as we age.
  • The damaging nature of internalized ageism to ourselves and others.
  • How to recognize frequently overlooked and subtle forms of ageism.
  • How we can disrupt ageism together and why we need to.

About the Speaker

Dr. Welleford received her B.A. in Management/Psychology from Averett College and her M.S. in Gerontology and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has taught extensively in the areas of Lifespan Development, Adult Development and Aging, Geropsychology, and Aging & Human Values. As an educator, researcher, and previously as a practitioner, she has worked with a broad spectrum of individuals across the caregiving and long term care continuum.

As Associate Professor and Chair of VCU’s Department of Gerontology, she currently works to “Improve Elder Care through Education” through her Teaching, Scholarship and Community Engagement. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Welleford provides community education and serves on several boards and committees.

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