By Geralyn Magan

The flight attendant on a commercial airliner made her way down the aisle during a recent trip from Baltimore to Atlanta. At each row, she paused and addressed the same question to every passenger.

“Something to drink?” 
“Something to drink?” 
“Something to drink?” 

The robotic script took a sudden turn when the flight attendant eyed an older passenger in one row’s window seat. The 70-year-old woman happened to be sporting gray hair and glasses, and was working on a small needlework project. The attendant smiled and asked:

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"Regardless of our date of birth, we are all entitled to be treated as individuals, with respect and attention. We deserve the opportunity to express ourselves, to be addressed directly and not through a third party—well-meaning though they may be. None of us would choose to be marginalized or disenfranchised; why would we allow it to happen to our older adults?

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