Monday, September 17, 2012
Another Form of Ageism
Ageism in the Media. Who’s Having a “Senior’s Moment?”[i]
As I age, and begin to experience later life aging, I continue to seek understanding of the various manifestations of ageism. There are several variations. Here is one: “A temporary mental lapse (humorously) attributed to the gradual loss of ones mental facilities as one grows older.” The article I am citing has a wider definition. “Although senior’s moments are frequently defined as brief memory lapses, the phrase also refers to severe cognitive impairment and functional incompetence.” The authors express the term senior moment… as an account or an expressed attribution of unanticipated or unacceptable behavior.”
When I started preparation for this post I came upon a web site that sells “senior moment” tea shirts. Hum………… Many people in North America appear to have negative attitudes toward older adults and while there are some positive stereotypes most are negative. The existence of these stereotypes is one of the major reasons most universities have classes not only about adult development but aging itself.
The article, cited below, found 136 newspaper articles (between the years 1997 and 2000) using the term senior’s moment. A careful search of the articles came up with the following information:
· “Minor memory examples equated senior moments with an ‘ity bitty lapse’ or the ‘tip of the tongue feeling’ or simply a ‘moment of forgetfulness.’
· “Yet other articles use the term to address more serious cognitive impairments such as an alternative to
Alzheimer’s Moments, a senior who has Alzheimer’s, mental instability, or colossal memory or attention lapse.
There is much more information in the article. But to end this blog post I must say that ageism is an age related stereotype that is so deeply buried in society we often don’t even know when it’s happening and “As a result, we do not question the use of phrases such as senior moment as accounts for problematic articles.”
One of the things discussed is how “senior’s moment” is used either as a self reference or a projection onto others. Let me know what you have experienced or think about this.