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Monday, May 26, 2014

Manifestatons 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 a 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 perceived potential drain on society) or as a uniformly well of group who are unconcerned about the need of others.

Ageism may be more commonplace in economic and political literature where demographic shifts in the population are characterized as portending a future health crisis or “age wars” with you and old fighting over their share oaf social and health services.  Ageism and age discrimination are abased 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 that reinforces the youth norm – battling the obvious and visible markers of aging such as grey hair or wrinkles. Internalized ageism may also be manifested by denial of any commonality with others in a cohort, such as the familiar objection of an eighty-five year old woman or man who vehemently does not want to be associated with “all those older people”.

[1]   This Post digs deeper into the process of Ageism

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