The world lost a great champion against ageism with the death of Dr. Robert Butler earlier this month. A psychiatrist who realized as a child that death was inevitable, he totally reinvented the treatment of the elderly through research and public policy. It was Dr. Butler who coined the term “ageism” to describe discrimination against the elderly. He was the founding director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institute of Health. Dr. Butler called aging, “the neglected stepchild of the human life cycle”. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for his book, “Why Survive? Being Old in America”, in which he revolutionized the long held myths on aging and exposed the issue of prejudice against the elderly. Raised by his grandparents, he came to revere them and this shaped his future career. The world is fortunate that this kind man focused his energy and talents on this last frontier. He will be missed but you have an opportunity to carry on his legacy by contributing to the discussion he started on ageism decades ago. Please comment.
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