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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Ageism Concept

Origins of the Ageism Concept[i]

         Many of the just fewer than 11,000 page views of this blog have indicated a strong interest in Ageism.  Recently as I was exploring around in the Internet, I came upon this material, which in addition also has interesting information about aging and intelligence.
         I intend to examine it thoroughly and it is likely that several blog posts will be created. It is important to remember that this was written in 1984, so this information as been around for a while. 
         To continue…”studies reveal that many people see the elderly as predominantly sick, tired individuals who are often grouchy, withdrawn, and self-pitying. According to this stereotype, they are also mentally slow, have trouble learning and remembering and have little interest in sex.  Robert Butler, the American founder of the National Institute on Aging referred to this stereotyping, and the discrimination that accompanies it as ‘ageism’.  He liken’s ageism to racism, and sexism, noting that it allows young people to ‘cease to identify with their elders as human beings.’”
         “Why has ageism come about?  There are a number of reasons, not the least of them being our own fears of growing old. This fear, no doubt, has prompted much of the prolongevity research mentioned earlier.  But there are other explanations as well.  Robert F. Almeder,…attributes ageism to materialism.  Almeder notes that in a materialistic society where people are judged according to their productivity and wealth, it is not surprising to find that ‘the elderly lose their right to respect’ as they abandon their economically’ productive role.”  (This gets me thinking as I retired Aug 30th last year)
         “Donald O. Cowgill, University of Missouri, Columbia, claims that ‘modernization’ has lower the status of aged individual. He reports that the elderly tend to be revered in more primitive societies where they are relatively rare, and where their experience can benefit younger people.
         “One of the most harmful outcomes of this obsolescence may be that it reinforces the stereotype that the elderly are less intelligent than the young.  Such stereotypes, particularly regarding elderly people’s supposed inflexibility and inability to learn new things can cause job-related discrimination.”
          I would be interested if you let me know if you have found this useful        

[i]  Essays of an Information Scientist (1984) April 2, Vol:7 p. 97-107.  Social             Gerontology, Part 1 Aging and Intelligence Found online

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