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Monday, April 14, 2014

Manifestations of Ageism

Manifestations of Ageism[1]

Ageism can be manifested in many different forms.  At a systematic level, laws and policies may be made without regard to the needs of older adults, or service cuts may have disproportionate impact on older adults.   Ageism may take the form of  “granny bashing” in the popular press (blaming many of society’s current economic worries on older adults).  It can be reflected in media where older adults are portrayed as uniformly poor (and consequently a perceived potential drain on society), or as a uniformly well off group who are unconcerned about the needs of others.

Ageism may be more commonplace in economic and political literature where demographic shifts in population are characterized as portending a future health crisis or “age wars” with the young with the young and old fighting over their share of social and health services. Ageism and age discrimination are based on social fears, and social response expresses those fears.

It has been suggested that there can be both internalized and externalized ageism.  Internalized ageism refers to the extent to which older adults take on the social norms that devalue or marginalize older persons.  They may do this at the individual level by acting in ways the reinforces the youth norm—battling the obvious and visible markers of ageing such as grey hair or wrinkles.  Internalized ageism may also be manifested by denial of any commonality with others in a cohort, such as familiar objection of an eighty-five year old woman or man who vehemently does not want to be associated with “all those old people.”

[1]  Ten years ago I began my journey of combating Ageism with a Seminar, I was 64 years old and Mandatory Retirement was still in place.  I created a seminar and the above is some material contained in it.

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