Robert Butler Dies - Coined Term "Ageism"

The man who coined the term "ageism" died on July 4, 2010, at age 83. His name was Robert Butler, and he was a psychiatrist with a fascinating background and appreciation for the elderly. Dr. Butler believed that there was significant discrimination against older people, which he called ageism. He said it was wrong and that we needed to have greater appreciation for older people, particularly because people are living longer.

His activism led to an entirely new branch of medicine -- geriatrics. He taught that age does not necessarily lead to senility. He founded the National Institute on Aging in 1975, and in 1982 proposed that Mount Sinai School of Medicine start a department of gerontology. Butler believed in living life well. He respected how the elderly can have amazing strength and endurance and used that knowledge and feeling in his work.

Read the entire obituary and a conversation with him at the New York Times.

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