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Monday, March 12, 2012

More About Ageism

Aging, Physical Decline and Ageism[i]

 As many older persons know “…As the body ages, a multiple of physical transformations take place.  Some of these, such as wrinkling of the skin and the graying of hair, are generally expected to occur for most individuals at certain points in their lives.”  
            My hair, what’s left of it, is grey and I have growing spaces on my face that are indented due to the tools I wear to bed to counter my sleep apnea. It’s part of the game and I sleep much better. 
   However,“…widespread societal perceptions of the elderly as unhealthy, characterized by physical decline and unsuitable work persist.  “For example young persons in a major study, rated young individuals as more physically qualified than older people for ‘demanding’ work.  In another study younger people over he age of 65 had serious health problems.
            “Also, stereotypes about the imminent physical decline of older workers  are also represented in language that can be herd in the workplace, some of which is beginning to appear in age discrimination lawsuits.  Examples of this ageist language includes phrases such as marking time, fading fast, on the shelf, one foot in the grave and ready for the scrap heap.”
            On the other hand “In contrast to widely held stereotypes that depict older workers as chronically absent and injury prone, the research literature suggests quite a different story.”
            In conclusion “…societal perceptions of older workers as unhealthy, characterized by physical decline…and “ in many cases represent polar opposites  to what research in these areas suggests.”
            The book from which I got this information is very interesting the other chapters produced by different authors are:
   Section I    Chapters 1,2,3, and 4
1.    Doddering But Dear: Process, Content, and Function in Stereotyping of Older persons
2.    Ageism: Denying the Face of the Future
3.    Implicit Ageism and
4.    Social-Developmental View of Ageism

Section 2. Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8
5.    Attitudes Toward Older Adults
6.    Ageism in the Workplace: A Communication Perspective
7.    Ageist Behavior and
8.    The paradox of Well-Being, Identity Processes, and Stereotype Threat: Ageism and Its Potential Relationships to Self in Later Life

Section 3 Reducing Ageism and Future Directions 9,10 & 11
9.    Acting Your Age
10. Will Families Support Their Elders? Answers From Across Cultures
11.  Reducing Ageism

[i]  Robert McCann & Howard Giles  (2002)  In  AGEISM: Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Older Persons ( Edited by Todd D. Nelson  ISBN  0-262-14077-2) Published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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