Ageism refers to prejudice or unjust treatment based on an individual’s age. Ageism is a pervasive social problem, but it’s not always treated with the same severity as other forms of injustice like racism or ableism. Age discrimination takes many different forms in our daily lives, such as refusing to hire candidates who are either too old or too young. Age discrimination also includes beliefs that older people are unimportant, unproductive, or fixed in their ways.
Ageism can take many forms, from systemic inequities to contempt in interpersonal interactions. Institutional ageism, interpersonal ageism, and internalized ageism are a few categories that can be used to type ageing. Institutional ageism occurs when institutions practice ageism through their policies and practices. Interpersonal ageism manifests itself in social situations. Ageism that a person internalizes and applies to oneself is referred to as internalized ageism.
Ageism is so ingrained in our culture, much like racism and many other forms of prejudice, that we frequently don’t even realize it is happening. However, talking about older people in everyday speech can be hurtful and contribute to inaccurate perceptions.
The following are some instances of ageist language and conduct that are so prevalent that we might not even notice them: Telling a woman that she is “too old” to wear a particular look or ensemble, especially one that is deemed “sexy.” Goods and services are marketed as “anti-aging.” Complimenting elderly individuals by drawing comparisons to younger individuals: “You look terrific for [your age],” “You’re young at heart.” Is your age truly so high? I misjudged your period by at least ten years. Stating that a person is “too old” to participate in a particular sport or event or expressing amazement that they “still” drive, skydive, run marathons, or engage in other activities.
Referring to a tiny slip-up as a “senior moment.” Remarks made about an older person by servers, doctors, and others directed at the older person’s younger companion or child. Providers of healthcare and social services who belittle seniors or mistreat, abuse, or overmedicate them. Condescending words (sweetie, dear, sweetie, isn’t she cute, he’s so sweet)believing it is endearing or surprising when older individuals engage in behaviours often associated with younger persons (light cursing, having or discussing sex). Use of epithets such as “geezer,” “gramps,” “old fart,” “dirty old guy,” “little old lady,” “old hag,” “biddy,” and “old fogey.” These all are examples of ageism which must be avoided to make this society a better place.
Ageism has detrimental effects on people’s health and well-being on many levels. Ageism is linked to worse physical and mental health, increased social isolation and misery, financial insecurity, lower quality of life, and early death in older individuals. Ageism is believed to cause almost 6.3 million depression cases worldwide. Moreover, premature death rates are associated with ageism. According to one study, older persons who self-directedly aged and believed they were useless lived shorter lives than those with favourable self-perceptions. Ageism also seems to delay the healing of physical diseases.
Nelson quotes: “Our society as a whole informs seniors that they are unnecessary, undesirable, and a burden.”According to Nelson, whose research shows that ageism negatively impacts older folks on various levels, it sends the message to younger generations that growing older is terrible and being older is worse.
They might have more difficulty with even the most fundamental daily tasks. When compared to individuals who did not mention age as a consideration, those who blamed ailments like arthritis on “old age” had much greater rates of heart disease and hearing loss. A double whammy might result from being older and feminine.
Ageism could make people feel more financially vulnerable. Ageist managers or coworkers may prevent you from receiving promotions or training. Additionally, due to your age, you could not be given a chance to work. Additionally, Fraudsters are more likely to target you because of preconceptions about older people’s abilities. More senior scams have negative impacts beyond monetary loss. These traumatic situations can cause extreme anxiety, guilt, and grief.
However, it’s crucial to remember that you don’t have to accept discrimination’s harmful effects, no matter what position you find yourself in.
According to the WHO, there are three methods for overcoming Ageism: Intergenerational Interventions, Educational Programs, and Changes in Law and Policy. Intergenerational Interventions foster cooperation and empathy between age groups—educational Programs to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes and increase knowledge of ageism. Laws and Policy reforms should be altered, which can lessen inequality and discrimination.
There is no justification for facing prejudice due to your age. Ageism is something you can get over with enough work. Following is some advice which may come in handy to overcome ageism.
Even if ageism is still a problem, we have come a long way. Eighty percent of TV advertising between the 1950s and 1990s portrayed older people negatively. Recent TV commercial analysis revealed a nearly 50% decrease in the use of negative stereotypes.
Be upbeat! Changing one’s mentality is crucial in combating ageism. Age brings wisdom and experience, so take advantage of them.
The most important thing for health workers to remember when working with senior citizens is to leave their personal biases at the door. Positive attitudes about older people benefit their physical and emotional well-being. They help advance a culture that is more aware of their needs, appreciates their contributions, and doesn’t treat them as unimportant.
Be as self-sufficient as you can. If you think that just because you’re a certain age, you can’t, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. You won’t lose those skills if you keep taking care of yourself as best you can. Purchase something/ Do your banking. Eat in restaurants.
Ageism can be fought by enrolling in a class at the gym or community college with younger students.
Finally, keep in mind that ageing is a natural part of life. In other words, growing older is not a sign of weakness but instead of experience.
Everyone deserves love and respect, whether they are10 months old or 100 years old.