Opinion: Carole Simpson on the truth about being old and female
Carole Simpson says it is great that Betty White has been embraced, but that is not the reality for most older women.
January 27th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

Opinion: Carole Simpson on the truth about being old and female

Editor's note: Carole Simpson is the leader-in-residence at Emerson College’s School of Communication in Boston, where she teaches journalism and communications classes. She is the first woman or minority to be the sole moderator of a presidential debate, and chronicled her 40 years as a broadcast journalist in her memoir, "Newslady."

By Carole Simpson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - It was suggested to me that older women are finally coming into their own.

Who would have thought that almost 14  million viewers would tune in to NBC’s broadcast special celebrating actress Betty White’s 90th birthday?

The endearing “Golden Girl” was feted by some of the most popular stars of the day, and even the president of the United States.

Actress Cloris Leachman was 82 when she danced the light fantastic on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Barbara Walters, also in her 80s, continues to land the big interviews for her ABC specials and act as a co-host on “The View," a show she co-owns.

Diane Sawyer, ABC’s “World News “ anchor,  is in her late 60s, and Lesley Stahl, long time “60 Minutes” correspondent,  is 70.

This all sounds pretty good considering women in television were once warned - by men of course - that our careers would be over at 40.

Does that mean elder females are gaining acceptance in our society?

Absolutely not.

Betty White can attract an audience because people love her. She’s warm and funny and a little raunchy. The other women are exceptional at their jobs.

Most older women say they fear being invisible as they get older.

They are often widowed, divorced and living alone on meager incomes, and among the poorest in the population.

Their children are grown and gone.

They suffer ailments of old age, are fearful of being attacked, and slowly and quietly await death.

Old ladies long for the days gone by when men turned their heads to steal a glance at them. Then, their bodies were firm and curvaceous; their hair thick and lustrous; their faces smooth and free from imperfections.

How do I know, you ask?

Because I am a septuagenarian.

But, unlike many of us at this age, I am an exception.

I continue to work and have a full-time job teaching college journalism. One of the courses I teach is reporting on minority and diverse groups, including the aged.

I told my senior and graduate students I was going to write a piece for CNN about older women, and asked: “When you think of old women, what comes to mind?”

The answers from the 20-somethings were what I expected. Here are just a few: “Wrinkles, whiskers on their face, too much makeup, smelly, tacky clothes, ugly shoes, walkers, lonely, repeat themselves, lots of cats, hot flashes, shrinking bodies, go to the bathroom all the time, knick-knacks, don’t have sex, always complaining.”

If that’s what young people think of older women, is there any wonder they don’t respect, or want to spend time with them?

My sister passed away last summer at age 78. She lived in California, so I didn’t see her often.

I am sorry to say she was “Exhibit A” of this plight of older women. She was a widow who never got over the death of her husband. She became clinically depressed.

She lived alone with her four cats and lamented that her children and grandchildren, who lived nearby, did not call or visit. She “let herself go” and often needed money.

I remember her telling me how rude people were to her and how a teenage girl pushed her out of the way and snarled, “Move it, grandma. You’re in the way.”

My sister was so unhappy, death was probably a blessing.

Our outlooks on age were vastly different. While she succumbed to it, I have been fighting it all my life.

As a broadcast journalist, I had to work hard, sound good and look great. I watched my weight and struggled to manage stress.

I even had plastic surgery when the chin and eyes began to sag on camera.

Now that I am teaching, I am trying to change young people’s perception of what it is to be an older woman.

I don’t leave the house without being dressed appropriately, made-up and hair groomed.

I laugh heartily at my students’ jokes and the YouTube videos they share.

I seek out fun and look for all the little joys in life, like popcorn and Junior Mints at the movies.

I try not to complain about every ache and pain that strikes.

I mentor my students and now they seek me out for advice on matters professional and private.

I think there are growing numbers of older women of my generation who are turning outward instead of inward and showing society that we have value, wisdom and a love of life.

Maybe we will make the difference and achieve what has eluded elder females for way too long:  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carole Simpson.

Posted by
Filed under: Age • Gender • What we think • Women
soundoff (391 Responses)


    January 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Mr.Porter, they do run and win in other countries. It's the US that balks at electing a woman.

      January 30, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tina

    A poem by the name of "Phenomenal Woman" written by Maya Angelou says everything you need to know about older women.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jb jr

      maya hasnt been laid in ages
      she is pathetic
      i bet she was a tramp when younger
      her a $ $ is f & ckn huge!
      her t w $ t must be massive also

      January 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • I've tapped that

        it was a good ride, nothing to talk badly about, just pure pleasure

        January 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lena Ferris

    I am 85 years old, widowed and live in a nice retirement center. I have enjoyed every single minute of my life and have had my share of sorrows also, such as losing a child. I had a wonderful marriage and the privildge of living in 3 countries and 7 states as my husband was a career serviceman. We worked hard and scarificed to get our children all beautifully educated. All have done very well and are so very good and kind to me in my old age-without exception. We brought them up to go to church, worship God, be honest and work hard. I felt that was my duty as a mother. Three of my 4 grandchildren have finished college and the other one is almost finished and most have advanced degrees. I have two great grand children; one on east coast and one on the west coast. . I know my time is now limited but as Paul says in the Bible, " I have fought the good fight!.". I am not anxious to die, but neither do I fear it. The Bible also tells us there ia a time to be born and time to die. My wrinkles are the least of my worries and each one is like a trophy to me. I am looking forward to that mansion God has promised me and I hope it is next door to yours!!!!! LF

    January 28, 2012 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
    • jb jr

      there is no god
      there is no heaven
      there is no h3ll
      when u die-u return to mother earth in 1 form or another

      January 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheila Kitzmann

      Well said–congratulations on a life well lived–hope you enjoy many many more years!!!!!

      January 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jofish

    Wah wah wah! Old women have it SO much tougher than old men! Old men aren't shunned by society, their opinions aren't rejected by the young, and they don't suffer as much when they make their wives widows. Really, it has nothing to do with age and everything to do with gender. [sarcasm, if that isn't coming across...]

    When will society treat women like equals? Hint: when they stop acting like victims and blaming things on their gender. Don't want to be pigeon-holed by your looks? Don't get plastic surgery.

    And lastly, as a personal question to the author; is it such a terrible thing that your sister severely grieved her dead husband? Doesn't that speak to her love and loyalty? If I had to spend an hour with you or your sister while she was still alive, I think I would have enjoyed and got a lot more out of speaking to her. You sound like a fake, pandering phony.

    January 28, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • tensor

      jo ...Your comment proves that there are some things viagra can't fix.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kyle

    My wife and I are 36 years old with a 7 and 8 year old. My 90 year old grandmother lives with us. It is really great to be part of her life and to observe what it is like to be an elderly person. I remember her taking care of her dad who lived to be 95 and died when I was 15. He was blind. I really respected her for her selflessness. I am honored by the chance to enhibit these same values to my children. Also, people should watch Golden Girls. That's some really funny and borderline inappropriate stuff on that show.

    January 28, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. gwats

    I'm actually a big fan of Shirley Jones.

    January 28, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Juliette Hachey

    Yes, i did inherit good genes. i am thankful and feel lucky. I do take pride in my look and enjoy dressing young and up to date. I do used cream and cosmetics to preserve what I have and I would not hesitate to use some kind of surgery if I feel I need it. I take care of my health by exercising, walking, meditation, yoga, tai-chi, painting, acting and singing.
    I thank God every day for my good fortune. I will be 72 in March and for my birthday I will get a tattoo which will represent my philosophy which is ' rebellion against social convention". I am not ready to fade in the background.
    I will not be invisible either. I do volunteer work and I respect women who chose to be what they want to be. I enjoy the
    company of young and have much respect and admiration for older people. My painting instructor is 84 and she is an inspiration to many of us. She is just one of many wonderful older women that I know.
    Getting older has it flaws and advantages. i have to admit there are many men and women suffering because of lack of health, money, and care. We the more fortunate need to spread love and help to the less fortunate..

    January 28, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. F. Daniel Gray

    Before I get to critiquing the many negative posts, there's me: A black/marxist/atheist and historian who is outliving his ethnic peers (late 60s) and have passed the statistical level of the average American male (78), but haven't caught my parents yet, who just missed 90. I tend to concur with Marion:good genes. I also believe that giving up distilled liquor after my first hangover; and chucking cigarettes at the same time, are factors. Not to speak of becoming a vegan over 55 years ago.

    A regularly active body is an attractive one: There aren't very many places in the Los Angeles area to go swing/ballroom/salsa dancing cheaply ( e.g., Alpine Village on Mondays, Steven's Steak house, Lindy Groove, LACMA-free on summer weekends), and skill, not age, is the only relevant component. A regular road running (well, it's more like shuffling now) routine, and taking a turn on the "outside" (i.e., beyond the breakers)) at the beach in summer does a body good. When I stand straight and look down, I don't have to peer around an interrupting "bulge" to see my shoes/feet. I think men ought to be embarrassed requiring women to be attractively "slim," while they are not. "Slim" isn't my ideal for "attractiveness." Fit and an inquiring mind are.

    I'm always perplexed by the tide of putdowns so rampant in the posts. I surmise that many of those same people spend much time in front of the TV. Corporate America's principal brainwashing artifact. The "news" is just as much a show/entertainment as are the "sporting events," where the Super Bowl next month will spend more time urging people to consume, than the actual amount of "playing time." A similar pattern evolves around "reality" shows, sitcom "shows," where the sponsors don't even believe we know what's funny, and adds a 'laugh track." I regularly click into CNN because it affords me an opportunity to refute the goings on. They banned me for a time a couple of years ago because I named names, even though such information was available in the public court records. 99% of the media programming is a waste of time. I avoid Hollywood movies like the plague. Thankfully, several foreign movie festivals come through Los Angeles on a regular basis: and the Laemmle theaters..

    It's easy to fault Carol Simpson as the posts do, but what would alternative would you have her choose? Being a "team player" allows one to hang around. And, it is definitely required of "black" people in this country. Spike Lee's talent is the equal of Woody Allen, Tarantino, Lars von Trier et al, but he is kept on a short lease. And, has never been "green-lighted" in a manner equal to, for example, "The Blind Side," a maudlin and paternalistic film (revelation; my opinion is based on what I have read about the film). Ms. Simpson may be accused of shallowness, but it results from the hubris and hypocrisy of the society in which we live.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • rightytighty

      Every word beautifully-put, sir, especially "the hubris and hypocrisy..." part. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and giving me something to think about.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Paganguy

    Ladies, use it or lose it.
    Looking for "fine dining, watching a movie, walking the dog or going to church" will not cut it.
    Hike, bike, swim, lift, do joga. Use it or lose it. Do cardio and strength training.
    Watch your height and muscle mass. If you are shrinking, you are not doing enough.
    Now, Lesley Stahl, she is a hot chick.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • lsm

      "if you are shrinking, you are not doing enough". You lost your credibility with that statement, if not the rest of your post. Aging brings a lot of challenges beyond the control of the person.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Puckles

    " Now that I am teaching, I am trying to change young people’s perception of what it is to be an older woman. I don’t leave the house without being dressed appropriately, made-up and hair groomed." "I even had plastic surgery when the chin and eyes began to sag on camera."

    Frightening statements coming an educator who claims she is trying to change the views on older women.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • pockets

      Yes women do have a rougher road to travel than men and I think the majority are right about marriage and kids, they will age you and stress the hell out of you. Not all of them will be there for their parents either. We all have to take responsibility for our own health, that is half the battle, and have a bit of $$$$ to live on in retirement. Live your life, there is no god, so enjoy yourself.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • kitt

      Eh, it's easy to be judgmental. She wanted to be seen as the vital, vibrant woman she is and so had some cosmetic surgery to help the image along, particularly as she works in a business where image is so important. I don't begrudge a woman's desire to look good and her need to look good in a society that constantly passes over women when they don't.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosa

      I was a housewife for 35 yrs.,raised 5 children, and got divorced at 52. Since then I have re-located, re-married, have exceeded as a professional, am teaching Latin Social Dance classes and participate in Zumba classes. I am 63 and looking forward to doing many more things in my life. I have also considered a little nip- and tuck but have not gotten there yet. I still get honked at and compliments. This morning I was watrching the news and heard them say that 60's are the new 40;s. Yes.......... 🙂

      January 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan McFarland

      What She said.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Glen

    Was the author actually paid for this story? A self-congraulatory piece that allows her to dance on her sister's grave while perpetuating a stereotype. There appears to be a deeper backstory in the relationship she had with her deceased sibling. I noticed the authors bio doesn't mention a spouse/partner or children. Perhaps this difference is the pathlogy behind this condescending essay.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anony

      She is married and has been for years. She also has children and grandchildren who visit regularly. Just FYI.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. paul

    huh? I'm in my mid 40s and everybody I know my age cherishes their living parents. who are these people that don't take care of their parents when they get older?

    January 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • drew

      i dont!
      my mom is a s k a n k!
      she is 70 and in a seniors home
      when she hit 65 she lost it and went bonkers
      i didnt think twice about what to do
      i put her in the old folks home
      just waiting for her to die so i can get my inheritance

      January 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Flamingo Kid


    January 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BJJCA

    And this is why I will always take care of my mother, so she never has to feel alone or helpless. People can call me a moma's boy all the want. But I've seen elderly people suffer loneliness and abandonment by their families too often. Not me. Not my mother. I owe her a life of love and respect and dignity, and that is what she will get.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alfred H.

      How's the hotel business doing, Norman?

      January 28, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • lsm

      And your children will probably treat you the same way that they saw you treat your mother.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Beverly Sparkman

      You are a decent person and I admire you! After reading that piece I feel like she described her sister! I had diabetes and cancer and have been ill many years. I can't afford nips and tucks so come and throw me in a trash bin. Luckily I have a wonderful family like you are!!

      January 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    It's not just older women–some women in their 30's just give up. You see them in Walmart weighting 300 pounds and walking around in sweatpants in the middle of the day. I contrast that with several older women I work with who are twice their age but mentally sharp, constantly take classes, dress well, don't gripe endlessly about their physical problems, etc.

    Once you stop giving a cr*p about yourself, no one else is going to care either. The key to being happy in life is to stay engaged and interested, and to be interesting.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Rob

    Sweet and touching story and insight into something most men certainly don't think about. How come CNN lets some of these crude urtfulcommments be posted?

    January 27, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jonathan

    I was hoping to read on more about the lovely Betty White in the comments but what I found truly horrified me. There needs to be a test to prevent morons from accessing the internet, to breed or other services or rights that should be re-evaluated for the safety of the rest of us.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Gumby

    I enjoyed your article Ms. Simpson. I'm a 57 year old male and it made me smile and think about the future. Thanks!

    January 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Brenda

    If young people believe older women are totally over the hill and have no life, blah, blah, blah, then why in the world do they seem to seem so threatened by us? I am definitely older, and I am definitely enjoying life - retired, no children to care for, able to travel, can absolutely do as I please! Now, what part of that is pitiful? Not one single bit. And yes, men do like older women for a number of reasons! Go figure!

    January 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      I don't think I would "seem to seem" threatened by you or any other older woman...

      January 27, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  20. pUCKLES

    It is pretty pathetic that we live in a society where older women are perceived by 20 somethings as " Wrinkles, whiskers on their face, too much makeup, smelly, tacky clothes, ugly shoes, walkers, lonely, repeat themselves, lots of cats, hot flashes, shrinking bodies, go to the bathroom all the time, knick-knacks, don’t have seAX, always complaining.”

    I am 37 years old, and I hate to tell you 20 somethings but these older woman paved the way for you, and if it were not for these older women who walked before you, you young woman would not have anywhere near the rights and lifestyles that they enjoy today.

    It is pretty pathetic that young girls in America are taught to have such little respect for older women. There are many older women who have been extremely successful in many different ways that these young women could be taking note of, rather than quoting stereotypes and being caught up in the superficial. PATHETIC.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesus jr

      u give credit where none is due
      todays girls/women enhance themselves to hide their self hating and self loathing
      this will never change
      women are and always will be insecure

      January 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      I love this comment! You are spot on attributing credit to the women who have gone before. I am constantly amazed at how critical we are towards older women, yet men seem to age and get less criticism. From what I have seen, old guys aren't so hot either, seem incapable of looking after themselves if they are widowed, and can't accept that they are old and not that great anymore! At least old ladies manage to create some sort of existence for themselves, regardless of what we think of them. Regardless of gender though, sloppyness is everywhere and self respect has plummeted, when you look at what is walking around.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  21. Paula

    How unbearably cruel to say that about your sister. Until you are a widow you really cannot speak for one.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Puckles

      I agree. It is SHOCKING how this woman spoke of her sister. If there were a brilliant man who failed to care for himself in his older years, he would still be respected and known as having been a brilliant man. It is pretty sad that this woman is in a teaching position and she is teaching these women that in order for an older woman to gain respect she needs to be superficial, get plastic surgery and always make sure she is dressed and groomed well. Forget about intellect!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • sqeptiq

        You totally missed the point. People get old because they quit living; they don't quit living because they get old. When you allow your life to revolve around what used to be instead of what is going to be, you are OLD, and miserable.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lila

        According to some shallow insecure woman who got plastic surgery? I don't think she is one to judge how other "old" people should live.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ohsotired

      I was recently widowed – June last year. I agree with the writer that it is wrong to hold on to the past where it becomes debilitating. Working through the grief of losing my husband has been the most painful, confusing and exhausting event in my life and I am still battling depression as a result. It would be so easy to just stop trying and live in the past and "let myself go". But if I did I would live the rest of my life in a state of sadness and stagnation and I chose not to do that. My husband and I had one of those relationships that others envied and I count us very fortunate to have met, loved and enjoyed our lives together. But I can't live in the past and I struggle everyday to put one foot in front of the other. I will always love him but my life has to move forward. Moving on does not mean I didn't love him and I think that many widows feel guilty when they start to let go of their grief. It is a conscious decision that many won't make. I believe that is what Carole Simpson was trying to convey.

      January 30, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  22. jesus jr

    something to ponder!
    do women as old as betty white spit or swallow?
    take it up the backdoor?
    are they grunters, mute or screamers?

    January 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      Do you??
      Please explain how this garbage comment adds to the conversation?

      January 28, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
      • adding to the conversation

        it is always important to know if they take it up the back door, that fits into any conversation for any subject

        for example: economics
        the American people have been taking it up the back door for some time

        January 28, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  23. jesus jr

    can u imagine banging betty white!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    now that would be frikkn scary!
    her ga$h must be huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge!
    and the stretch marks, hair everywhere,sagging body parts that shouldnt be sagging,non stop f$rting!
    omg! scaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaary!

    January 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • horseyonz

      you are an ugly troll

      January 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      You should hurry up and die before you become what you're trashing.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      You only have trash to say. Just stop it, you sad little creature.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rindash

      Why did you read this opinion to begin with? You obviously feel overly strongly about women regardless of age. Whatever your problem is, take it to a psychiatrist. You have no business here.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jr has an extra chromosome

      I'll bet she would be saying the same thing about you

      January 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Zack

    And the winner of the Carole Simpson Award for Self-Congratulatory Hubris goes to.... Carole Simpson!

    January 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  25. tommy gunn

    Ah Yes, older women. They don't swell, they don't tell, and they're grateful as hell.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  26. JOE


    January 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • lsm

      Get your mind out of the gutter.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  27. Lila

    Evidently age doesn't bring wisdom, compassion or kindness. The cruel comments about your dead sister were horrible. Sounds like you spent a lifetime jealous of her life. At least she had love from a husband, children, grandchildren and even cats obviously something you didn't get or ever appreciate. If she was such a sad pathetic person you wouldn't have even bothered to slam her after she was dead. I admire your sister with her 4 cats much more than a sad 70 + women who cares what a 20 something thinks of old women-who cares? . So continue to brag how busy, "young"(keep dreaming) and successful you are compared to your dead sister, maybe just maybe you'll fill that lonely insecure hole in your soul.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • EJ

      Lila you need to read the story again because what you said is totally different from what was written. Seems like you have a very big chip on your shoulder.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lila

        Obviously reading comprehension is not your strength. Try reading it again. "I was an exception" "death was probably a blessing" and all the rude comments in between.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lila

        Oh and if it's still difficult to understand her intentions, after death was probably a blessing and they were vastly different, count how many times the narcissist uses "I" until the end of the article. She pretends this story is about views about older women but goes on to compare herself to Exhibit A- oh I mean her dead sister.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  28. i_know_everything

    how do you open google?

    January 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Chicago7

    Reading her assertion that her sister was so unhappy that death was probably a blessing tells me all I need to know about this self-congratulatory person.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Embee

    Carole Simpson is writing from a POV of privilege. She has a good job, and money enough to fix whatever she doesn't like about her facade. I work with older women who bring home only $17K a year after taxes. They can't afford cosmetic surgery, let alone preventive medical care or dental care. Their teeth are actually falling out. They need new glasses. They can't pay utility bills. And they certainly can't afford the little things, like new clothes or meals out, that could make monotonous, lonely lives less boring and solitary. If these women were children, somebody would be screaming for social services agencies to do something about their condition. But they're older women, widowed and divorced. They want and try to help themselves, but nobody wants to help THEM.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesus jr

      um...so, whats ur point?

      January 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Drew

        ummmm, that Ms. Simpson is a smug self righteous jerk.. just like you..

        January 28, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  31. AL


    January 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      Get a life!

      January 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat in IL

      Uncalled for and stupid. You must be 13.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • CB

        That is an insult to 13 year olds.

        January 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuestBaby

      let it be known, i am absolutely horrified that you have my initials.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • horseyonz

      Notice most of the nasty age-ist remarks are from men? If they're so hot why are they reading about Betty White and not out getting laid? Because they are fat, bald, stupid, ugly and smell bad.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • no proof, and you are quite ugly yourself


        January 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Leonard

    The indisputable truth is the fact that women get old and men mature.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      So that would make you a woman? Or at least a pansy...

      January 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • tensor

      The indisputable truth is that men never mature.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  33. jesus jr

    ever watch an old lady give a hummer?
    should be called a GUMMER as that is what they do!
    they gum ur d$ck!

    January 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      Can we all just hit the "Report Abuse" button on Jesus (Satan) Jr. and kick this sicko off of here... Please Join me.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • AF

        Just did along with several of his other posts. I hope karma is real for idiots like him.

        January 28, 2012 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  34. Callmeanairplane

    Every individual older person is different. To those that are outgoing and successful, don't pat yourself on the back too much, because you don't know what the other person's situation is.
    Just be grateful for what you have, and stop saying "Gee, I'm great!!. Why can't every older person be like me???"
    Just be grateful for what you have, knowing that you are not entirely responsible for it.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • pete


      January 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  35. don


    January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Callmeanairplane

      Maybe people think the same thing about you?

      January 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • gwoman

      You are ignorant. Somebody failed raising you. You will be fortunate if you live that long – old (whatever you think that is). Most people do not, you know. My sympathies to you and your thinking.....

      January 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      Imagine how you smelled when they changed your diaper... and apparently still do.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  36. frances

    Jesus jr. You dont get much do you?

    January 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      Can we all just hit the "Report Abuse" button on Jesus (Satan) Jr. and kick this sicko off of here... Please Join me.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • lsm

        Done and done.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  37. Lisa

    shameful how you disrespect your dead sister and widowhood.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      It's more that she doesn't understand clinical depression. Most people don't.

      If you think elderly women have it tough here in the states. How would you like to live in the so-called enlightend nation of India where they toss out their widowed mothers to fend for themselfs;


      January 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Wow

    I found this authors perspective distasteful. Shallow; narcissistic; foolish - the list goes on. With age comes wisdom; too bad it passed her by. Her sister was lucky to die without her.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      Completely agree. It's not like she's an anonymous person, so her sister's family and friends are reading this garbage.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  39. jesus jr

    banging an old chick is like banging a whiffle ball

    January 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Are you speaking from experience or just spouting off because you're attempting to be funny, but ultimately failed?

      January 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • jesus jr

        its a fact!
        older women have gaping loose pu $$ ies!
        sadly i have experienced it
        and even worse is going down on an old woman!!!!
        their gashes smell bad!!!!!!

        January 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • F.

      You'll know soon enough in Hell.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • janskor

      I'm appalled that you are allowed to continue with your ignorant, totally offensive remarks to most of us decent human beings. Either you are a child (young and immature) or a perverted person.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Katherine

    Thanks for the article. For over 70 years now I've spoken my often unfiltered thoughts. But as I read, I realized I now too often complain. Time for a change.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • kablooie

      i think many of us are guilty of that regardless of age. the fact that you recognize that you need to change encourages me to look at myself, as well. thanks for posting.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  41. jesus jr

    now why cant we do this?
    put the experience from an older bag(ie. old lady) into a young girl woman?
    older women have loose gaping t w a t s, saggy t $ t s, stretch marks, saddle bags!

    January 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ssln

      Did your parents teach you to be as rude, disrespectful and disgusting as you are in your post? The elderly are deserving of our respect and should not be denigrated. May you always be treated exactly the same way that you treat others.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • jesus jr

        not being rude-telling it like it is!
        what i said is fact!
        accept it
        older women have p u $$ i e $ so big and loose that you could stuff a watermelon in it with more than enough room for a d i l d o or 3

        January 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      You are sickening. Older women are worn out because they spent their lives raising babies and working hard for men that didn't view them as much more than a built-in maid that they were able to take to their beds as well. I think it is sad how most elderly people are treated, and (no I'm not old, I am 17). Obviously you only think of women as something to sleep with. Bag? How ugly can you get? I hope when you are old that you are treated with the same respect you gave to the elderly.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chicago7

      You should try leaving your elderly mother's basement for a day and get some fresh air. Your brain obviously needs the oxygen.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Ryan Meeks

    Just another side effect of artificial contraception (in many cases)- the partners who were too afraid to have children in their youth now complain about loneliness and lack of purpose. Of course, this is not always the case, as some couple truly have conception issues not attached to contraception, but that's the exception instead of the norm.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Some of us have better things to do than reproduce.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • horseyonz

      You moronic, godsquad, peon; are you illiterate as well? The author clearly said "...Children are grown and gone...".

      January 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fuyuko

      Not everyone should, could or wants to reproduce. And that's ok.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  43. DOT


    January 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cap'n Rita

      For all of your "capabilities", releasing the Caps Lock isn't one of them. Turn up the hearing aid, granny, you're shouting.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Puckles

      Good for you!!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  44. CJGubernat

    Thank You for this article. I am turning 32 in just two more days, though it wasn't just yesterday that I began thinking, 'what is my best idea of myself at 35? 40? 50? and beyond....what can I do to accomplish that? Well, for one thing, I have put off getting married as well as motherhood because I know how I wanted to enjoy my twenties and gain some invaluable life experience many forgo when they've never lived on their own- meaning that I wasn't willing to go from living in my Mother's house to living with a husband. So, at 32 I'm very glad I stuck with this an now that I've settled on a career choice, I'm completing my Bachelor of Science degree and I'm the straight 'A' student I never was before. I also make conscious choices each day that I know will effect me five years from now and beyond. Women have some advantages today that they didn't several decades ago and I would encourage younger ladies to take a good look at how to make the most of them. Thirty really can be the new twenty...but not unless you see to it that it works out that way for yourself.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Old women are just like old men! As a society we should respect them both. Perhaps if so many women didn't just live for attention and praise for their looks, then they would feel so lost when they're not young and "beautiful".

      January 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • candace siderides

        George....do you realize that it is our society and MEN who put such pressure on women to be young, skinny and beautiful....not intelligent and self reliant....we are changing that...slowly but surely...but your comment just showed that things are changing much too slowly.

        January 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • gale

        Poor George you must have never gotten that pretty woman with the fabulous body and charming smile. It is men like you who have made women who think they have to be perfect to put themselves and their bodies through torture. I am fortunate that my very beautiful daughter with that gorgeous figure had the forsight to have a great job and make it on her own. A girl who knows her worth without paying attention to the remarks men make at her when she walks by. I hope for women everywhere to be like her. Women need to know they are worth something even if they are obese or homely. We should respect all elderly simply because they deserve it and it is the honorable thing to do.

        January 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Callmeanairplane

        Women who use their looks to gain monetary and social advantages in the world, complain later that men don't appreciate them because they lost their looks. The women who complain the most are usually the ones that never had anything to offer BUT their looks.
        Women who have a sense of humor, a good heart and are interesting people will always be appreciated, no matter what their age.

        January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ashley

        Wonderful comment, it's a shame to see the rest of them...

        January 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Puckles

        Candace is right on!

        January 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Croco3

      32 or 82, I think a woman who will choose her own life, goals & worldview; not give in into pressures of society, may weather the storms of life more gracefully than most. From a 30 year old single dude, I could be wrong, but I tend to think trying to live up to other people's expectations (fight the wrinkles, nip that, tuck that; yada, yada) leaves many women exhausted and still unsatisfied. I've known many women who looked a bit older in their 50s, 'cause they used no make up or had had (or still had) a rough life; but the resolve in their eyes, their struggle to define their own paths and their dedication to their families and friends commanded nothing but admiration and respect.
      Of course there's a knucklehead or two who will snicker and say some nonsense, make fun of their ailments and their habits, but that only matters if you have a minute to give a flying rabbit to such people!
      Live your life, ladies; live it fully, live it gaily; and count less on cosmetics & plastic surgery and more on your inner resolve and light, to make us remember that your life, your presence, matter, at 21 or 91!

      January 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lisa

        thank you. beautifully said

        January 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Dan

    "They are often widowed, divorced and living alone on meager incomes, and among the poorest in the population." So, you mean, they are just like older men?

    January 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • candace siderides

      Dan...most women over 65 today did not work enough years outside the home to have the advantage of pensions and decent social security...they relied on their husbands to care for them as they cared for their husbands and kids...so no not like men...the men have pensions and much higher social security benefits...in addition they die younger and don't have all the extra years of a lonely moneyless existence.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      Thye are often (also) very rich and independent because they live off their dead husband's pension and life insurance policy. Invariably, when I meet a dumb, wealthy woman - that's the case.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Sherri

    II'm 62. I am invisible now , to many in the world. I'm OK with that. I find being older to be such a plus~ I no longer have contact with people I don't wish to- that includes my family. I choose who I'm close to now , and I choose how I interact and at what level. I garner great rewards now from that , such as I never did when I did what others thought was 'right' or what societal mores deemed 'necessary'. I expand my knowledge in myriad subjects, and I either mingle in the world or not. I take offense at being called 'dear', 'honey', 'sweetie', etc and I say so, in a firm voice. I champion the same things I fought so hard to have- property in my own name, credit it my own name, etc. I do my own research, my own comparison shopping and I make my own choices when purchasing things. I embrace the electronic age, but don't get apoplectic if the power goes off. I take pride in being able to live the day to day sans labor saving devices if need be. I take pride in living within my means , which are very meager, but life sustaining. I've not been out of work for the past 44 years- why? because I kept adding to my skill set so as to remain employable. Older women are a treasure; but the world is patriarchal and always will be thus. So, we are expendable. Some retreat, not because they choose to stop living, but because they are exhausted from having to bash their heads against the cement wall of society just to be afforded equal rights. Not better than, not less than , but equal. I'm the same age my grandmother was when she passed away. I'm not a beauty, by any means, but looking at photos of her and in my mirror, I look 20 years younger- only because I had the opportunity to eat better, had some rights afforded me, and was able to work , not toil in hard manual labor for 40 years. I hope in my granddaughter's time, women will finally be accorded their due as vital and productive members of society, at any age.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      wow Sherri. Best lines I've read in a long, long time. Thanks for offering true bits of hard-earned human wisdom. May you enjoy tomorrow just as much as you did today.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  47. monica

    This was one of the most stupid, shallow and hopeless articles I have ever read. Older people are awesome, beautiful and often wise. Gain some maturity Ms. Simpson, and this is coming from a 20-something year old.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martina

      Oh goodness! Wait until you are at least in your late 30's. Then, you may appreciate what this woman is saying. If that's the way you feel about old people, good for you. Most kids are not like that. It is you who is yet to grow up.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      I'm a 50-year-old who is in some agreement with the 20-year-old. It's disappointing the author felt the need to change her body surgically and seems to think this was a good thing to do. Women who do this are basically reinforcing the idea that there is something wrong with a woman's aging face and figure. This is tragic. We need to promote our everlasting beauty – including that of smiling eyes in a lined face – instead of the plastic surgery mega-industry. The author's plastic surgery money might have fed scores of homeless people – and what an act of true beauty that would have been.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • james harvey

      That was very rude and disrespectful for you to say something like that, Monica. You see, this is exactly what Ms. Simpson is talking about. One day you're going to be her age, if you live long enough. You need to ask yourself, would you like a young person your age now to say what you said about Ms. Simpson when you're age?

      January 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • james harvey

      That was very rude and disrespectful for you to say something like that, Monica. You see, this is exactly what Ms. Simpson is talking about- a lack of respect. One day you're going to be her age, if you live long enough. You need to ask yourself, would you like a young person your age now to say what you said about Ms. Simpson when you're her age? Ms. Simpson was only pointing out the realities of what it means to be old and female in America. Of course, not everyone who read the article, including some seniors, will agree with what was written, this is only to be expected.

      But I like the honesty and candor in which Ms. Simpson presented the article, mentioning such well-known celebrities as Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Diane Sawyer and of course, herself, the authoress. If the above-mentioned women were ordinary old women, I wonder how many people would pay attention to them then?

      January 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Just curious; how many 70 year old men have you dated? or how many have you seen that turned you on? If a seventy year old man asked you out on a date would you be thrilled?

      January 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • enough to know

        very wrink-ly

        just not appealing at all

        goes true for the older women too, product of aging but don 't want to date them

        January 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  48. BellaTerra66

    The author of this article is to be pitied. She doesn't live in any world I'm familiar with, and she has a highly inflated false opinion of herself.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Yes. She thinks way to highly of herself.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      Agreed. And judging by the pic by the headline, she's either not as old as the people she's writing about, or well-off enough to afford plastic surgery.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  49. CAP

    "She was a widow who never got over the death of her husband. She became clinically depressed.
    She lived alone with her four cats and lamented that her children and grandchildren, who lived nearby, did not call or visit. She “let herself go” and often needed money."

    How about yourself? Have you lost someone that meant as much?
    I feel very sorry that your sister had such a crummy family that didn't give her the support she needed....someone to grieve with her...to help her with her loneliness, hopelessness, self-loathing...

    January 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Thank you for saying what I was thinking. It's sad that a sister who is apparently in such good health that she can brag about it on CNN couldn't do what it took to help her sister grieve. Instead, she just said it was good she finally died. Nice.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      I agree. Pretty lowlife family to abandon their mom like that.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Absolutely agree 100% thank you for stating it.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Karin Green

    Thank you for raising this issue. This is one of my 'soapbox' issues. I am 76, no plastic surgery, endowed with generally good health and attentive children and grands .I was widowed 4 years ago after 51 years of marriage and I have managed to get on with life. My complaint is being called "little lady", "young lady", "dear/dearie", etc. And sometimes I do feel invisible. I am active and a life-long learner (current interest: singing). I contribute to my urban community in several ways and satisfy my creative needs. And, yes, I have a cat and a limiting income. So what?

    January 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  51. SuZieCoyote

    Well, goody, goody, goody for you for piling on the disrespect train. Plastic surgery only lasts so long, then you can be old and unloved, tool.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Velma

    Well, I am 73 years old, raising and homeschooling my now pre-teen grandson who is a special needs boy, and going strong. Sure, my joints ache a bit, my blood pressure just won't behave, and my eye sight is getting worse. I could never justify the expense of face-lifts, although I would have liked to. I no longer have as many contacts and activities as I had in my previous professional and volunteer days, but I stay busy enough. I am sure it will be worse when I do get old. 🙂 Still, old age sure beats the alternative in my book.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Wow....just wow

    You wrote: "My sister passed away last summer at age 78. She lived in California, so I didn’t see her often.

    I am sorry to say she was “Exhibit A” of this plight of older women. She was a widow who never got over the death of her husband. She became clinically depressed.

    She lived alone with her four cats and lamented that her children and grandchildren, who lived nearby, did not call or visit. She “let herself go” and often needed money.

    I remember her telling me how rude people were to her and how a teenage girl pushed her out of the way and snarled, “Move it, grandma. You’re in the way.”

    My sister was so unhappy, death was probably a blessing."

    Just an FYI, I became a widow at the age of 23 and I had no choice but to grow up faster than any of my peers. What you did to your sister was beyond shallow and downright mean. When you become a widow your left with a broken heart that never heals, there will always be that void and you will always miss your other half....OTHER HALF. Your sister was not depressed, she was grieving, like any other widow or widower and no there is no "get over it". Then you go to talk about embracing getting old and yet your getting plastic surgery, sorry but that is going against what you "stand for". I talk about how every woman should embrace her body and looks and I am not running around getting plastic surgery and I refuse to get plastic surgery (even after 3 kids). Maybe you need to take a good look in your mirror, just sayin.

    Before you judge a widow maybe you should try to walk in our shoes, which I already know you wouldn't survive even one second before you cry and beg to have your oh so perfect life back. Geez, shallow indeed.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sadie Boyd

      Exactly...this is a pro corporate America article. Tell women how cronish and ugly they are so they spend money on ridiculous pursuits of eternal youth. You know how to stay and vibrant? Drink a lot of water, love other people and keep your mind strong by avoid reading pithy articles like this one.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Amen, and amen. What a complete insult to your sister and the aged.

      So people have to pretend they aren't in pain and have surgery to look young in order to gain the approval of the younger generation and apparently this woman? I don't think so.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  54. mary

    The problem is the media keeps telling us youth is beauty.. And there is such beauty in all ages..
    The women that have ruined thier looks. distorted themselves into a odd sort of distorted appearance.. have lost some thing ..The beauty that is in being older..
    Its sad.. WE don't need to be perceived as 'se*y" to younger people.. it shouldn't matter.. Youth is not the only stage in life that is beautiful and precious.. Being elderly has a beauty all its own..

    January 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krissy

      Mary, very well said! As a young woman, I am really inspired by your post. If only you could have written the article! I would love to hear more of your thoughts on aging, very wise.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • rightytighty

      Mary, I'm honestly moved by your reply. Thank you for being a light in a sea of darkness.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  55. ihaetcnn

    oh, look. Another article by a shrill, squeaky woman about another woman. What a freakish surprise, not.

    is it that your parents didn't give you enough attention, growing up ? Now you have to write PAP just to put the woman's story ....however mundane...out there.

    And look, don't overlook the moronic headline you were graced with: Opinion: ...the..TRUTH....

    so which is it ? In your world, I'll wager they are one in the same, lady. Opinion is quite often not truth.


    January 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • sherry

      One day you will see the real truth. Older Women are not valved as much as older men in our society. I am guessing you are a young male. Watch how your Mom is treated when she is elderly. Open your mind and watch your "opinion", when you seem not to know anything about the subject.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krissy

      ihaetcnn, clearly you just hate women in general. You can tell because you call her a "shrill, squeaky woman" when you have NO IDEA if her voice is shrill or squeaky. Your post speaks volumes about your prejudice.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • B. Turnage

      It's "one and the same," idiot.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Gretchen

    Inside every very old person is a person who used to be 20. I try to see that person blemishes and all when I talk to someone slightly older than myself. (I'm pretty remote from my 20 year old self too)

    January 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Liz

    I read the article and the postings with a wince: My good fortune was to have a pretty terrific (widowed) mother who lived well into her 80s at a retirement home she enjoyed. Sad for people who do not connect with parents.

    Because I visited often I got to know many "wrinkled" folks at a time in my life when I had not one wrinkle myself.

    Many of those people were wise, seasoned in their life views and worth getting to know in the time limits set by those visits.

    Now I am wrinkled. But because of that experience decades ago, my sense of worth may be more solid than that of someone who is putting significant emphasis on appearances. I spend lots of time engaging with people and looking at their faces, rather than being overly concerned about mine. And, amazingly perhaps, I've got a load of good pals of all ages.

    Community rather than cosmetics is what keeps me going. But that's just my experience,

    January 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  58. ann

    I think young people respect older people, especially women. I'm 25 but I have always appreciated elderly women because they struggled for rights and respect that now makes it easier for me to be treated fairly and with dignity. Elderly women are inspirational but I understand that time takes a toll and can make older people grumpy or resentful. I think as young people, its our job to help older people feel important by spending time with them, asking them about their lives, and LISTENING to them. Life is hard, and I'm sure I'll be a lot different in 50 years than I am now, but I do hope I have both of my grandmothers' spunk, zests for life, and senses of humour!

    January 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Ann, that's really nice.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • conventgirl

      Ann, you're probably going to become a wonderful, wise older woman. You have a terrific outlook and maturity that will take you far.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • rightytighty

      Heck yeah, Ann! I'm 27 and have worked with old folks for years. I've learned the Cha-Cha, I learned to knit, I learned how to sing "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön"...they have all contributed considerably to making me a more interesting person, and it's just so awesome to know there are other people my age out there that feel the same way.

      Thing is, the only thing we can really count on in this world is that we're gonna get old. You know? I want to be loved until I die, not until I stop looking hot.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  59. Carol W.

    I find this article offensive. She talks about how older women are not actually gaining acceptance in society, then she goes on to applaud herself for being one of the exceptions and blaming older women themselves for the rudeness and perceptions of younger people. Well guess what, women on "meager incomes" can't afford plastic surgery and nice clothes. Many actually do suffer from medical ailments that impact their ability to perform activities of daily living, some as simple as showering, and can't afford to hire people to help them or the medications needed to treatment their illnesses. Dare I say alzheimers, arthritis, etc.? Many older women are completely alone, through no fault of their own and are clinically depressed. The writer even blames her own dead sister for being depressed and needing money. I find this remarkable. People who are really clinically depressed generally can not just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. And by the way, cats are great companions for older people, in that they require minimal care, while at the same time relieving loneliness and depression. But seniors can't win with this writer. She's makes fun of older women for having cats, when those very cats help alleviate some of the very same "problems" she is complaining about.

    I wonder if the writer has ever thought about how a person feels when their vision deteriorates to the point where they can no longer read, watch TV, drive a car? And no pair of glasses or surgery will help. And they live alone? And they can't afford to hire anyone to help ? And they have no family? Or their family lives far away? It's kind of hard to put on makeup and dress yourself in clothes that match when you can't see and have no one to help you. (ever heard of macular degeneration??) And what if that senior has other physical problems that once again, no amount of surgery will fix? Ever had to struggle with urinary incontinance that's permanent??

    Instead of patting herself on the back about how great she is, and how she is doing such a great job changing the stereotypical view of older women, maybe the professor should spend a little time in her classes teaching her students empathy and about the reality of growing old for most people and the very real struggles that many, many, many seniors face. And then discussing how we as a society can change and help to improve the lives of those seniors. And maybe the author should pause and reflect on how lucky she is that she is free from debilitating disease and that she has the money she needs to pay for her surgery, makeup, clothes, etc.

    When my teenage children are in the car w/ me and we all start to become impatient because of a slow driver in front of us, almost every time either my kids or I will say," well, that could be someone's grandma, what if that were our memaw, so lets just chill out. God bless her, it's great she can still drive." It's called respect.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Wow, such a loving and compassionate post.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dianne

      Well said Carol! I think you know the truth and have stated it very well.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • sherry

      Thanks for the eye opener. I got a lot out of your perspective.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BellaTerra66

      Carol, Great Post.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I thoroughly enjoyed your post. If anything, CNN should have offered you the opportunity to describe the plights of older women.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      [stands up and applauds]

      Also, the author was a horrible sister. I would be embarrassed to put in print what she has here, but sadly, she doesn't even realize her behavior should be embarrassing.

      Old people lose their sight, their hearing, their continence, their minds, their independence...the list goes on and on. Instead of finding herself so superior for still having those things, she should realize that she is simply lucky. She is most certainly not better than others just because she can still get around.

      This article really made me ill.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crys

      Beautiful, Carol, thank you.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJGubernat

      Very insightful and honest without casting insults or attacks, which I admire. I agree with you quite a bit, though my post didn't elaborate on whether I agreed or disagreed with the writer. Being born and raised in the North East and having moved to Florida just three years ago, I notice a far greater level of respect for the older population down here than I ever witnessed up there. I do also think Ms. Simpson has adopted a bit of a 'Hollywood' mentality...well 'Hollyweird' as I much prefer to call it.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • candace siderides

      Carol, being a woman of a certain age, always loved that term, I thank you and applaud you...

      January 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Thank you for that thoughtful post, Carol. They should have had YOU write the article!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  60. William Ross

    Truth about being "an" older woman.....

    January 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • sherry

      There is great, "ageism", in the United States. Old people, especially women, are invisible and deemed not worthy or valuable. As they grow older men get, " distingiushed", women just get old. Look at the movies...men 60 and older, i.e. Harrison Ford, gets a 20 or 30 year old as a co-star. Women are still valuable and beautiful as we age....but, in this society....we have to fight for respect and value. It is up to each one of us how we do that. Also, feel beautiful in your heart and mind, no matter what age you are. The world cannot take that away.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dianne

      I have met some incredible senior women in my life. Strong, courageous and brave. Too often younger people are condescending towards older women and men. Having been a stay at home mom for a while, I became friends with several old cat ladies who were the best friends I have ever had. They were lonely, but they had given all they had to raising families, working for years and doing for others. These women are treasures, and contribute so much in their lifetimes. They indeed deserve respect.. tons!

      January 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  61. BarbP

    I'm ambivalent about the article. I have benefitted from the luck of the genetic draw. I am always open about my age, but I am a youngish 65 and I do find it awkward when people ask me how old my kids are and when I start saying, "43, 41," etc (I have 5), I can see confusion and then embarassment that they've made me reveal that I am "old". I'm lucky to work for a company who accepts and promotes older workers. I'm lucky that I have been freed thus far from chronic illness. I'm lucky that my kids still maintain close relationships. Not everyone is that fortunate and I find myself helping "older" people who struggle in public with getting on a bus, getting through an airport, getting out of a car. People my age are the "pig in the python" – the bubble of population that make up the baby boomers – we need to respect each other and take care of each other – if younger folks understand us, that's great. But we need to love ourselves and each other first. Let young people be young. They will never understand our issues and our position – how could they? There's a freedom with older age – I stopped worrying about being seen in a bathing suit on the beach – I stopped worrying about being a fogey on Facebook – I stopped worrying about what people think – and I love boring young people with my sage advice 🙂 There may be loneliness and illness and frustration and dislocation among our peers – but only we can really help.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Southern

    Well, I think Carol Simpson is gorgeous and an excellent writer.
    Even more, like many old women, she is scintillating and interesting.

    Of course, I am 74 am looking downhill at her. Lol!

    January 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Bensmydog

    This is a great article. I can not understand why people are making comments about Ms. Simpson's plastic surgery. Maybe she needed it and looks better now. Who cares? It is noones business and very honest of her to admit to it. A little maintenance work is as important as taking care of messed up teeth in my opinion. Most people expect older women to look bad, feel awful etc... When we stay in the game it makes them jealous. We worked hard for what we have. If we just throw in the towel, the younger ones will gladly take all that we worked for..our jobs, our homes, husbands and most importantly our self worth. Stay healthy, strong, smart and beautiful. Look to women like Ms. Simpson and Gloria Steinem as examples and not the Demi's of the world.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vicki

      You are so right.
      We are afraid as we age, afraid of being irrelevant
      We have a lot to offer
      I am in my early fifties, sometimes it seems that I am ancient.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bensmydog

        well vicki it is normal to start to loose a bit of confidence as we age plus we have to worry about our health. But admitting our concerns like you do and like I do is half the battle. Some older people live in denial and then it hits them like a ton of bricks. We see a lot of this in Hollywood. Mostly I don't care too much about being "middle age." I thank God I am alive and feeling fine. P.S. I think you are great Vicki!

        January 28, 2012 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
  64. OrtegaM

    What about men?

    January 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • what about men?

      they are smart enough to fly under the radar and stay out of discussions like these

      why address unpleasant truths

      January 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Caryl

    I am 61 and the only thing I have to say is this. Make as many new friends as you can and keep all of your old friends. Having people you are close to keep you happy. I am sure this goes for any age.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Carol

    I come from the genes of women who never looked their age. If you met me you would never guess. I'm fortunate, but I've always looked ten or more years younger than my age. No bags, no blemishes, just a few around my mouth and smile lines. I see women 30 yrs younger that look older. As far as boring anyone, I don't bore my husband who also looks years younger than he is. I keep up with everything in politics, science, and etc. Some of the friends and aquaintances our age seem behind the times. We communicate better with the 50 and 60 some yr. olds. We thankfully are healthy. I know now I at last look 55 yrs. or more because they have stopped asking me if I was really a Sr. citizen.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mim

      Me too. I'm 73, widowed, a college graduate, children are grown and out of the house and have two very good well trained dogs. I love living in the country, fishing, camping, picnics, appreciate a wide range of good music, American food, and stay at home TV movies and videos, especially mystery shows. I'm active socially and politically, dress going out, dress well going anyplace special. I live on a fixed income but managed to pay off my home, work on and maintain it, keep on national and world events, am a history buff, apperciate good music and good food. I'm on speaking and conversational terms with people across the social specturm. I can't find a man of any class who will get off the sofa or a barstool, take care of his appearance and can hold a conversation or even wants to. The main male criticism of me is "she's smart," the compliment "she's got presence." I would really love to meet an equal, share a life, his and mine. I've been told I should lower my sights, "settle" but that's not for me. You mentioned respect, respect and trust are very important to me. So here I sit hopeful that there is a man for me out there somewhere who values companionship, sharing and caring.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      NO WAY IN HELL you look YOUNGER than women who are 30+ years younger than YOU ARE! Hahahaa! Thanks for the laugh though!!!! Some of these comments are HILARIOUS!

      January 30, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  67. mglambe

    I'll be 60 on my next birthday and I find being older to be liberating. My daughter just turned 30 and I told her that the difference between us is that she's at the age where she cares too much what people think about her and I'm at the age where I don't give a hoot any more. Boy, does it feel good!!!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      I agree I was noticing the other day that I just don't care who looks at me when I walk by, and I also don't trip over myself to look at attractive people. Those facts make me feel free ... I simply feel engaged in my own life and I don't need anyone's approval for that. I can feel that this will be true at any age. In fact, in this sense we are all ageless. So long as I can feel my breath in my nostrils just being alive is splendid.

      Being enthralled by physical attraction and getting attention is only the very tip of the iceberg, a very small part of all the wonder facets of what it means to be a human being. When all the chaos of youth has passed, look within and you'll find so much to discover! Old age is a magical spiritual opportunity.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pound

        Hey Conrad, Very well said. THANK YOU.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  68. conrad

    When my career is over, my spouse has died or left me for something more interested, and my kids find me boring ... I shall simply find a mountain top temple and meditate until the light turns on.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • SuZieCoyote

      The monks at most mountaintop temples don't want women around.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Marie

    A timely subject and article, but as an old lady, I find my experience of being old quite positive. I do not have to sweat all of the small stuff I did as a professional woman. I am comfortable in my own undoctored skin. I have more patience. I am continually in awe of all the new technologies. I see progress towards lasting peace. I have time to read and garden. I can stay up late or take a nap anytime I want to. I can eat dinner at breakfast. Oh the list goes on and on. It is a time of wonderful freedom. Perhaps, we create the world we want. I do think it quite sad that no one seemed to reach out to the author's sister.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeptic

      The only progress toward lasting peace will be when the various world religions stop killing each others' adherents. In other words, never. God may be great, but religion is definitely not. Oh, but you say the problem isn't YOUR religion – it's the other ones. LOL.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lee

        I get bored with statements like yours. Where is there a great religious war going on right now? most of the time it has nothing to do with religion, but resources and $$$$. Big surprise there, and hate to tell you, people lust for money and things won't go away when religion does. Sorry to burst your bubble. Most religious people are at the forefront of bringing peace into this world. We make bicker about our differences, but I rarely see anyone religious blowing up churches, mosques or synagogues. There are wackos in everry belief system including atheists (Stalin and Hitler to name a couple). Should I judge you on their noble accomplishements towards world peace?

        January 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Maya

        Seriously? If you don't see religious people blowing up houses of worship, you clearly don't pay any attention to the news. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard of a NON-RELIGIOUS person doing that. Religion is irrational, and irrationality is toxic. The Bible didn't cure polio or create computers. SCIENCE did that. Meanwhile, the religious zealots in the Middle East are busy blowing each other up over conflicting beliefs over the same imaginary friend. Furthermore, I have a hard time giving credit to anyone "doing good" whose motives are so obviously tainted by fear of eternal damnation. No, I'll be glad to see the day when theism is swept into the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

        January 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Maya

        By the way, Hitler was NOT an atheist.

        January 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hitler, really?

        lets see, why not talk about Stalin, Bush, Hitler, Obama, Cheney

        people bring just the dumbest things from out of no where into these blogs

        January 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      While it does seem that the world is more and more violent and less peaceful...a very interesting book by Steven Pinker – Our Better Angels – gives some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary. It sure opened my old eyes and gave me a completely different perspective on world unrest – religious and otherwise.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • rightytighty

      God bless you, Marie, and thank you SO MUCH for sharing...you spoke right to my heart. You painted for me a picture of a beautiful, peaceful, fulfilling future.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  70. Jim in San Mateo

    I love the Betty Whites of the world. Their eyes are bright, they say what they feel. I can't stand the "woe is me" types. The ones who don't get any exercise, think that life has handed them a rough go and wonder why no one comes to visit.

    My seventy-four year old mother is a case in point. If one of her children came to visit, she met them at the door with a smile and a to do list. She would take us out to dinner which is nice, but we would sit there and listen to her lament about her aches and pains and all the things the world wasn't doing right. Not worth the free meal.

    She was never without many words of unsolicited advice about what you should or shouldn't be doing. Any conversation with her soon degraded into her telling you what to do or how to do it.

    Haven't seen her in three years and though I feel sad about it, I also feel like I've been released from prison.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Menson

      Wow. Whatever happened to honor your mother and father. Don't you think that she dreamed of being a million miles away from you all the years she had to spend raising you. Get over yourself and go see your mother. So what if she gives you advice it is obvious from your post that you don't have a clue what is the right thing to do.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Vicky Evans

        I second that.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • conventgirl

        Did your mother abandon you wnen you were needy? Shame on you for not visiting her.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marion

        Bravo, Mary! His mother has every right to complain and to offer "unsolicited advice" to this self serving, selfish, insensitive son. Perhaps if he was not so insensitive, Mom would have no need to complain about her aging body just to see if see if he really cares. He doesn't.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marco

        I think I can sympathize with both points of view. Luckily, I get along really well with my mom, but sometimes my grandmother-in-law drives me crazy. Mary, I was thinking about your comment. When I was young, if I had complained about this and that and was cranky about life, my mom would have sent me to my room for a nap. I wondered, can I do that to my mom? Also, the phrase honor your father and mother can go overboard. What if they are abusive? Still, Jim, I don't think this is the case with you and so I agree with the others and you should contact your mom. I have a solution to your dilemma, though. Write her a letter.

        January 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      You'll regret not working things out with her once she is gone.

      She needs your love and compassion. Remember, one day you could be in her shoes.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Wow, there are worse things than losing you only son to cancer, some people have living sons that think as you do.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      I get along with my parents, but I see and agree with your point, Jim. It's fair and honest.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      What are you, like 14-years-old?

      January 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • yes

        not that there is anything wrong with that

        January 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sm

      I hope your children ignore you when you get old and do the same to you. The most stress parents have is worrying about their children no matter how old they are. Of course your mom gives advice that is what her job is. Apparently she didn't give you the advice to treat others as you would want to be treated. Get over it Jim and stop being a mother to your mother. Go give her a big hug and kiss and tell her your love her or you'll be a very sorry fellow when she passes.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mim

      My situation is just the opposit Jim in San Mateo – my children and grandchildren are all over me if I don't tell them every detail of a common cold or household problem. If I don't email, IM or call at least two or three times a week they're contacting me – my son just shows up on the doorstep scolding becausse he didn't hear from me. As for a to-do list, they just call saying they're coming with a cadre of friends to attack my house and yard, and fully expect a big dinner. They're not comfortable with me living in the country alone – I had to laugh, my grandson's wife was all aflutter saying what happens if you drop dead, your dogs will eat you. I told her don't fret, there is always at least a month's food available, they can drink out of the toilet and go out through the doggie portal. Even though I sometimes I wish they would cut me a little slack I love and appreciate them more than words can say and I'm grateful to have them.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • trace

      Did you ever think maybe she gives you a to-do list because she's not able to do some things anymore and she's thinking maybe the son she carried for nine months or so, gave life to and busted her hump to feed, clothe and shelter would WANT to show his appreciation by doing a few household chores?????????? It shouldn't even require a free meal for you to go help her and listen to her. I bet she listened to a lot of your problems when you were a child. I've rarely met a more selfish person than you – and I'm thankful for that.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Karen Waldauer

    I'm a 74 year old woman. I have no problem with receiving respect, because I deserve it and I expect it. Anyone who behaved in any other fashion toward me would be promptly reduced to quivering rubble. And to be very candid, Carole Simson, I would respect you more if the photo of you at the top of this article showed a septuagenarian's face. That, not so incidentally, speaks volumes about your own self-respect.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      There's nothing wrong with her picture.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • conventgirl

      Bravo! It seems terribly immature to talk proudly about looking good and cosmetic surgery at the same time. What about one of the poorest segment in our society........poor old women? The ones who aren't well, not particularly attractive, can't afford current fashion, etc.;, are they supposed to disappear?

      The writer of this article talks about how she thwarts falling into this 'older woman' category and doesn't address the issue. We're all so happy for you but it seems unfortunate that your vanity takes precedent over others.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • conventgirl

        The last posting she read, 'we are all happy for the writer and her vanity............'

        January 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mabel

      Sheesh, so she looks good. She already said in the article she takes good care of herself. Anyway, there comes a time when no matter how much "work" you have done, it won't hide your age. It's different for each person. Maybe she hasn't got there yet. Maybe in her family, it's 80 or 90. In my family, we all look ten years younger than we really are. My dad is 75 and is only JUST now starting to look older. But he still doesn't look "old," even with white hair.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Meliss

    i retired from a local police department on 12-31-10 in California. I was 73 and had worked there 23 years. Approximately one year later, The Chief called me and asked me if I was interested in working part time. I was in Vegas and not winning so I said yes. Have been back a month and very happy about it.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Skip

    Sorry Carole... no sympathy because I think you look terrific! I remember you as a moderator for a Presidential Debate and I think you are very smart and quite attractive. I find that older guys like me and older women now have the wisdom to really know what it's all about, and whether man or woman, you simply don't have that kind of insight when you are younger. I wouldn't trade my age to lose my wisdom. Older women shouldn't either. Skip

    January 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Rick

    Sounds like your sister was reaching out to you and you ignored her. You thought her death was a blessing? Maybe she thought you could've blessed her with a trip to California.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      And she could afford it, unlike most of us.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • conventgirl

      Yes, a trip and some compassion wouldn't have hurt!

      January 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mabel

      If her sister was depressed, she could have reached out and it didn't do any good. Depression will do that to you.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Fae Moen

    I have watched myself age since I have an identical twin sister. My age stares me in the face no matter how slim I am or energetic. I think the writer's sister was suffering from depression and probably needed a little help to move on and not wait for death. But it is all too common. Old age is scarey, but it comes and best thing to do is to face it head on, don't let the age discrimination be too upsetting, keep a sense of curiosity and a sense of humor. And speak up! My sister and I weren't waited on the other day in a restaurant while young people got all the attention. Once she came over, I told the waitress "If you're as lucky as we are, you will get old, too, and then you need to hope people still treat you with respect. But if you haven't been treating others with respect most of your life, you may not get respect in return later on." I have a feeling it went right over the top.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  76. john

    I personally prefer the look of Betty White over Ms Simpson the author of this article. The author looks a bit overdone with her makeup and put on smile. Being real is preferable. A smile added on top of a frown is worse than a frown.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Lindsey

    Wow... I just turned 30 and I really never thought getting older was THAT horrible. Kinda terrified, now! =/

    January 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Swan

      Don't worry. You'll build up your wisdom with time and old age is not that terrible if you know how to leave in the present moment, I am 63, grey hair, still work full time but will retire soon so that I can practice mindfulness for the rest of my life. No matter how we like or dislike the old age, everyone is getting there anyway. Why do we have to waste time for something that bound to come!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  78. W8a2nd

    I just wish more retirees would act like Clint Eastwood in Gran Tarino. It would reduce our mugging problems significantly.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Cobweb Pants

    She is an exception-genarian.Mostly because she is alive.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Ruby

    I am a very young 57, and my 40 year old son is "older" than me. My best friend from high school (same calendar age) is bitter and cranky and closed-minded and trapped in the 60's. It really IS all in the head; it's not what outside forces mold you, it's how you fit into someone else's pre-conceived mold. I, like the author, refuse to squish in there.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Ruby, couldn't agree with you more or the author of this article! I am 49, turning 50 in less than a month. When I lost my job 2 years ago, I went back to school and am now working towards my nursing degree! I have friends that are younger than me, chronologically, but way, way older than me mentally. I go out with friends, hike, hit art festivals....and generally love life! I just became a grandmother for the first time and enjoy that little girl like you wouldn't believe! I'm looking forward to graduation, as I plan to travel nurse after getting a few years under my belt in a hospital. My mother's family all lived to wonderful, active old ages (one at 103!). My parents always said the day that they began to sit around and do nothing, was the day they would start to....or literally die. Stay young by constantly stimulating your body and your mind!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mabel

      Heh, what you said. A BFF is younger than me by a couple of years (I'm 46) and she won't even touch a computer. I keep telling her she's screwed if she ever loses her job and rich bf. She has so much and only ever complains about it. I have younger friends too, and a younger bf and just lost my job (it was eliminated), but I know I will find something because I'm constantly trying to learn and reinvent.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Morgan

    I work in a Skilled Nursing Facility and for most regular folks, there is nothing glamourous or exciting about being old. Most are in some degree of physical pain, many are incontinent. Most of our resdients have lost spouses, friends and even lost children. Carreer? Gone. House? Gone. Looks? Gone. Many have few visitors and are totally dependent upon us for their world, which is this 40,000 square foot building. That's it. We get to clock out, hop on a bus or in our car and do whatever we want. I work in a top rated facility and our folks get great care...but by the time most folks hit 80 or 90, life ain't grand.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • anne

      Morgan, onlyt 3 percent of people end up in a nursing home, the rest are living lives much fuller than you descibe. Don't focus on these people as typical, they aren't. You are seeing a small sample of people not functioning the way they could.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Vicky Evans

        Thank you for your kindness & care for that 3% of the aging population that have been given some hard knocks & health trials in their old age.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Morgan, the description you give of past 80 is not the majority. My parents are 86 and 84. My parents still live in their own home, Dad does the driving, and they constantly go on little trips around southern California. They have their aches and pains but they are not complaining.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Floretta

      Morgan, the fact that you are working in a SNF colors your view of the elderly. You don't see large numbers of older oflks who remain in their own homes, go shopping or out to dinner, travel, etc. You can become incontinent at an early age (see a urologist.) My mother had a stroke at age 68 but continued with family help in her own home, went shopping, out for meals, and – her favorite – gambling at a nearby casino (where she regularly won at slots, btw.) She hosted wedding and baby showers, attended baptisms, weddings, funerals, family reunions. Addressed her own Christmas cards by the score almost to the end. She looked forward to the Tuesday visits from her sister who always came with goodies. I am convinced her ongoing interest in life kept her going until she died at 79, just months before her planned trip to Vegas. In the same way we choose to live our lives we choose how to age. Everybody gets aches and pains and illnesses and loss; it is the human condition.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dot

      Great post...some things just need to be said.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Healthy Old Guy

    I'll show you some respect.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Ok, here is my phone number: 555-555-1212. LOL

      January 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • that is not your number

        I just called it and she wanted my credit card number and asked me what I was wearing

        said she would treat me right... that wasn't you, was it?

        January 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Fuyuko

    I think young people have a difficult time empathizing wiht the ailments of old age. Until you start 'having to go to the bathroom all the time' they find it impossible to understand how that might feel. My suggestion is that youngsters need to realize that old people don't really have the funds to dress trendy, get facial waxes, and have distinct unique health issues to contend with. Instead of making old people feel worse, try volunteering some of your time to help them out. Empathy costs nothing.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      I'm 23 and I fear old age. I don't think it's lack of empathy, I think you'd be surprised how many of us 'get' that it's difficult to age. I think young people stay away because it makes them nervous to look into their own futures.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marion

        You are absolutely right, Kate. I have noticed that from a lot of young people......they sort of argue with you that you could not be feeling these "aches and pains" because they are afraid they will be like that some day.

        January 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Floretta

        Honey it's not so much old age you fear but oblivion. Well, nobody youthens. Considering the alternative, I plan on sticking around for as long as possible. By the time you're my age (60) aches and pains are old companions and a tolerable reminder that, hey, I'm still here! More and more folks younger than I am are turning up in the obits each morning but as long as I don't see my own name I'm good to go, lol. Good genes, clean living and dumb luck go a long way.

        January 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Linda

    Wow, you are so dead wrong and those agreeing with you are on the same self imposed negative and self destructive path. If this is what you believe, it is what you will experience, period, just as it is with everyone. Grow a little Ms. Simpson.. you are so dreadfully behind the times and unenlightened for someone reporting to the public. THAT would be the responsible thing to do.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim in San Mateo

      Please be more specific. Wrong about what? I sense a closed bitter world talking.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Carol

        Simpson's article seems to imply that only women in the public arena are keeping themselves up, with face lifts, etc. This isn't true, the comments here from older women prove that life is not passing us by. Bitterness is for the young, and many comments in various articles show this. Wisdom is given to all that ask for it, and is received by the young and the old.....some never receive it. You are as young as you feel, but if you are depressed as this writers sister was you feel nothing but numbness, certainly not bitterness.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Really?

    I think this article is condescending and superficial. I don't think "laughing heartily" at young people's jokes is going to change the collective perception of older women. The article doesn't even begin to address the fact that older WOMEN are perceived more negatively than older MEN – which is really the larger issue. So, while I think it's nice that the author is still working and keeping up "appearances", the reality is that men can age much more naturally and not be dismissed as readily as women. The author is only reinforcing this negativity by always having to look fabulous – even to the point that she undergoes plastic surgery. The issue is just much to important to be addressed in such a superficial way.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • conventgirl

      Yes, yes, yes! The author is not addressing the issue but instead is expressing pride at her own superficiality.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Bert Bigdongle

    I stopped reading in the intro at "She is the first woman or minority to be...". When is this statement going to stop? It is demeaning by itself because it implies a special occasion when a woman or minority actually does something. Whopee, lets give her a trophy!

    January 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Just Saying

    Geesh lady, no need to bury your sister twice.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • rightytighty


      January 28, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  88. JosethePlumber

    Don't they have homes for old people where they can all go and drink dinner together?

    January 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Horseshack

    Old people smell like plastic.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Friend of the Elderly

      That's funny – I hear you smell like a Horse Shack

      January 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Perhaps you should have your nose checked by a Nose and throat specialist?

      January 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • contortionist

        or at least remove it from your own a$$

        January 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  90. John

    We live in a culture of short attention spans and text messages and instant gratification.
    I have always respected my grandparents, they lived 10 blocks away and i saw them every week, even throughout my 20's. People will only understand when they get older.

    Its really a shame how people are judged in this world.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • get over yourself dummy

      I couldn't follow what your wrote, I got to "we live..." and was pulled into some texting with my friends

      we're playing internet games and watching tv while we stuff our selves with Fritos

      January 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  91. theDude

    The essence of respect for the elderly is rooted in spunk, looks, and energy? I'd rather have wisdom.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Why choose? Have both!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  92. MaryAnn

    I think when you get old, most people just wish you would be dead.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Disagree

    I have to say that I disagree with the writer. First of all, in professional careers older women almost universally get more respect than younger women (and men, sometimes) because, of course, they have more experience. Also, the writer certainly does not seem comfortable with her age. The "fighting" of getting older by getting plastic surgery especially stands out. Why would she expect respect for advanced age when she herself tries to stay young-an implicit disrespect of age. I am young, 24, and I respect older women immensely. I respect my grandmother more than any other person. She did not attempt to act or look younger than her age; she embraced the wisdom and knowledge that come with age, and accepted that often youth are not capable of spotting wisdom when it is standing right in front of them. Throughout everything she kept her dignity, intelligence, and sense of humor, and for that, I respected her. If, at the age of 75, she had attempted to look and act like she was 35, she would have just looked childish, silly, and revealed that despite the fact that she was 75 years old she had not gained the wisdom that comes from it. Just as a man will not respect a woman who does not respect herself, young people will not respect an older person when they do not respect themselves.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • ceramicbisque

      AMEN! This person is the LAST person to be commenting on how to respond to the stereotypes. She feels she had to HIDE the wrinkles? Bet she colors her gray, too. I was ALSO a professor of communication, full time faculty teaching in a Communications Department (interpersonal communication, which is relationships) and I would NEVER try to act an age I wasn't. Seems like this chick is forcing herself to belong by laughing at YouTube, etc- most of that stuff you have to SEE to "GET" it. People can spot a phony a mile away.

      Enjoy your wrinkles, dress how you WANT to, not to impress- and faculty dont have to dress immaculately to lecture, comfortable stylish clothing is relaxing to the students. You dont have to make a statement about your age IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH IT. This writer clearly isnt and shouldnt be the one lecturing on it. How disgraceful to tout cosmetic surgery and comment on aging gracefully!!!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mglambe

      Well said!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJPA

      I am a 66 year old Realtor who loves life, enjoys her career, makes a good appearance, dresses stylishly, wears make-up and colors her blonde hair. I do NOT have to go gray, I do NOT have to look like my grandmother did, and I do NOT have to act like an old lady. All my friends are the same - we are not the 60 year olds of the past. We like modern music and well as the oldies, we have lots of fun and laugh a lot, but we have also experienced life. There is no need to act like an old person if you feel good about yourself and have self respect. You go, Carole!!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Vicky Evans

        What exactly is "acting like an old person" anyway, who decides that? I personally think acting like an old person is having the wisdom to accept other people as they are dyed hair, grey hair, whatever. The insistence that you have to act or look a certain way shows immaturity & insecurity, not youthfulness.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • anne

      You are a very wise 24 year old, thank you for your comments.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • thank you

        but I was hoping for a little something more, a little something and something, ummmmmmm

        January 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Wow. at age 24 you have a head start on the wisdom you gain from life experience. May I adopt you?

      January 27, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • you seniorita may have your way with me


        January 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Walk a mile in her shoes with your 24 year old wisdom and maybe your opinion will mean more than SQUAT.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  94. karen

    Wonderful piece! So true!

    January 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  95. B Davis

    I think that part of what is happening is women's lib was unnecessarily strident and destructive, is still such - e.g. ask any man who has tried to get custody of a child when the mother is on drugs or otherwise unfit, selective service is still gender based - so it is good to read a woman talking about women having been interested at all in men taking glances or even being important to them, at all. Men were actually written about as being aliens and there being two species.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vicky Evans

      Oh, shut up you whiner.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • yeah, what she said

        put a sock in it

        January 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Tom Kelly

    Good for you Ms Simpson! Old people and young people are a natural combination. I think old people also have negative perceptions of young people. But when the two work together both can be positively impacted. I am 54, teach, and also participate in social activities with people 30 years younger. I get energy from them and I think they respond well to me.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Common Sense

    I really enjoyed this article....Until I read this:
    "I even had plastic surgery when the chin and eyes began to sag on camera."
    You talk about embracing aging yet you clearly were embarrassed by the natural process of aging to the point of having surgery. Sorry, but that's a bit hypocritical. Do you understand why?
    However, everything else you said was lovely and a joy to hear.
    Oh, and your sister's emotional state is the norm, I think. It's heartbreaking.
    Thanks for sharing, Lady.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • greatmom&soontobeolderlady

      I think you are missing part of the author's point. "Aging gracefully" to you, might not mean the same thing to the next person, so whether it means enjoying your grays, or covering them up, getting plastic surgery, or letting things sag and liking it, it is all about feeling good about yourself on YOUR own terms – not based on someone else's standards. The point is that she is not playing the victim, and letting herself wilt away, as too many people (men included) still tend to do. I hope I can be as courageous, and do WHATEVER it is that allows me to make the most of the later years in life, and, to further dream, wouldn't it be nice to do it without judgement. I do not intend to ever have any plastic surgery, but hate to think that I would be 'felt sorry for' if ever I chose to do so for my own reasons.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      The sad thing is that she probably HAD to have plastic surgery to keep her job "on camera".

      January 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Susan

    Great article – thank you for keeping responsibility where it belongs, with the individual.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Herman Villanueva

    Brilliant writing and from what I experience with my mother and wife, so true. We need to respect each other.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      THAT is what you took away from this article? Respect each other?? The writer was critical of her own sister because she was clinically depressed after her husband died. How is that respectful?

      How is it respectful of the elderly that she just seems to think they just need to not "act" old? For starters, she needs to realize, they aren't acting. They're old, so cut them some slack.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Cherries

    I hope I'm as spunky and energetic as Betty White when I'm in my 90s.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sher Afzal

      Keep a healthy life style; you may be as lucky as Betty.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      I am 68 and wish I was as spunky and energetic as Betty White.... NOW. I have been told I look in my early 50's.....nothing to take credit for, it is good genes. My Mom was 86 when she died and NEVER looked her age, even after suffering Alzeimer's for ten years. I have kept my sense of humor and hope I NEVER lose that. I always joke with people who ask me "what's your secret?". I tell them that I never got married and had children. Haha. But it really is just genetic.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • xzc

        are you a peter puffer

        January 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • As for me...

        I'm with you, Marion. I'm 62, don't look it, and it could very well be because I never married or had kids. Men and kids will age you fast. LOL

        January 27, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
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