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Monday, April 25, 2011

Some Advantages of being older

          Dr. Erdman Palmore a Psychologist in the United States is considered one of the world’s specialists in understanding ageism.  A number of the postings on this blog are based on his research including the findings reported in Ageism in Canada. Along with Yongie Yon[i] I conducted the research using Palmore’s Ageism Questionnaire.
         In addition, my entry entitled Positive Ageism is based on material in his book AGEISM Negative and Positive. It was published by SPRINGER PUBLISHING CO in New York.  If you plan to develop competency in this area, this book is essential.  The data was gathered among older people in the United States so some of the findings may not be the same in other countries.
         My purpose here however is not to advertise for Dr. Palmore or Springer Publishing. My goal is to provide you with more information about age prejudice. Toward the end of the book Dr. Palmore introduces material describing some advantages of being old to both the person and society.  Examine them and see if you or a member of your family could be included in these findings.
         First: Advantages to society: (1) No matter how measured, older persons are more law abiding. (2) Are more active in political issues, (3) Volunteer more frequently, (4) Perform better at work and (5) Tend to be wiser than younger people (based on years of experience).
         Second:  There are Advantages … specifically focused on older people. Some of them are due to positive ageism.  (1) More law abiding and “less often victims of crime.” (2) Less likely to be in accidents whether it’s motor vehicle, work, home or other accidents.
Also tend to have better driving records. (3) Freedom from taking care of children. (4) Freedom from Pregnancy (5) Freedom from work. (5) Less mental illness and, (6) Less alcohol and drug abuse
         This section of the book ends with the advice that we should keep in mind that these advantages don’t outweigh the disadvantages of ageism.  But Palmore tells us that “…more emphasis on these advantages through education, exhortation, and propaganda can help to reduce unwanted fears of aging and negative images of elders.”

[i] Policy Analyst, Senior and Pensions Policy Secretariat, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).

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