Categorized | AARP

It’s time to disrupt aging


By Jane Margesson

Chances are you’ve heard a lot about the downside of getting older. Birthday cards for the 50+ set usually joke that we are “over the hill” or that everything is going further “downhill” with each passing year. I recall years ago seeing a colleague who had just turned 40 sporting a t-shirt with an image of an amusement park with this message: “Welcome to 40 where the fun never starts.” What a way to start a new decade.

AARP believes that no one’s possibilities should ever be limited by their age and we will fight to remove barriers that stand between people and their goals and dreams. We have a legacy of more than 50 years guiding us in this quest as our own founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, was 73-years old when she founded AARP. She never put a limit on her mission to help improve the lives of others and the AARP of today embodies the very same principles Dr. Andrus embraced all those years ago.

Although the reality of aging is radically different than a generation ago, many of us continue to hold outdated beliefs about aging ,which are often limiting and tinged with discrimination. The solutions available to us as we age are shaped by these outdated beliefs and are simply out of synch with the way we want to live.

Today, we are on the cusp of a sea of change as AARP once again is taking a bold step forward in an effort to dispel the negative stereotypes and attitudes towards getting older. It’s time for this change. It is time for what AARP’s CEO, Jo Ann Jenkins, calls Disrupt Aging. Disrupt Aging addresses both outdated beliefs and the need for new solutions.

If you look around, you can see that many individuals have already found their own ways to disrupt aging. They are harnessing their accrued wisdom and meaningful life experiences to better their retirement years and engage with others. If we can renovate the cultural image of aging, we will succeed in transforming each person’s life as they mature with broadened horizons as opposed to decreased possibilities.

In similar spirit to Jenkins’ call-to-arms for a sustained effort to Disrupt Aging, internationally acclaimed medical doctor and longevity expert, Dr. Bill Thomas, will be stopping at USM’s Hannaford Hall in Portland on May 20th as part of his “Age of Disruption Tour.” Blending myth and science, music and visuals, Dr. Thomas shows audiences how to turn the tables on “Life’s Most Dangerous Game” and how to approach aging with the skill and enthusiasm it requires.

During the performance, Dr. Thomas challenges audience members to reject ageist stereotypes and embrace the moments of life that offer the greatest risk, reward and possibility. The mixed-media performance begins with a light-hearted look at just how “crazy” our culture’s perspective on normal human aging can be and then asks: “What if?” What if we all lived in a world that saw aging not as a process of decline but rather as the entree to life’s most dangerous game?

“There are things you can do,” Dr. Thomas says, “that help you gain a greater appreciation of the world and a new way to enjoy the liberation, re-imagination and excitement that can be derived when you embrace ‘life after adulthood.’”

We hope you and your family will join us for this unique opportunity. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. You’ll be taken on an incredible journey into a new and highly disruptive understanding of age and aging that has the power to inspire positive change for members of the audience and the communities in which they live.

Jane Margesson is the AARP Maine Communications Director.

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