Monday, February 11, 2013
Affects of Ageism on Older Adults[i]
I recently came across a very interesting database that provides researched information about a large number of ideas and situations. And, of course, I have first looked for stuff about ageism. The following, paraphrased material comes from there.
Society has changed and evolved in it’s concepts and understanding of technology. How ever there has not been significant change in younger person’s attitudes about older adults. This is particularly true when it comes to both older men and women at work and in public life. Why is it so hard to overcome ageism?
There are all kinds of isms but ageism is subtler than, for example, racism or sexism. And though there are aspects of “positive” ageism” it is quite negative. “It is also thought that older adults become senile, cautious, dependent, to all especially family members.” While not everyone thinks this completely, many focus on one or two of them. It’s like the idea that when we reach a certain age our brains click off; like the day after they retire. Some researchers have found that; “labeling someone as ‘old’ right away reduces expectations about that person…”
The effects of ageism are costly. For example, we older person who face age prejudice constantly often begin to accept it’s ideas for ourselves and allow ourselves to become more dependent on others and this reduces our level of self esteem which in turn triggers ageist self attitudes.
Another consequence of ageism is reduced social security. With postive ageism. “It is thought “.. That elders are now financially sound, better off mentally, psychically, and socially.” This may lead to government cuts in financial support programs.
What can we do about this? One thing we need to do is examine the media. “The media is most likely the number one source people spread and adopt these negative stereotypes of older people. There are limited time slots older adults receive in the media and the air time they get is about Alzheimer’s diseases or skin care etc”
Finally, “ In the whole, ageism cannot be defeated unless the privileged younger people change their attitudes toward aging. These younger people who are promoting stereotypes need to realize that in about 20 or 30 years they also will be old but hopefully the younger generation then will not have negative views. “ People of all ages need to cooperate. And we older adults need to open up and be willing to learn new things after retirement. This is believed is the essence of wisdom.