Stereotyping of people based solely on their age and generally centering on people older than age 65. Said shrink Robert Butler, to whom the coining of the term ageism is credited, “Ageism, the bias of one group against another, has been used mainly to the bias of younger individuals toward old individuals. Inherent ageism is the awe-inspiring anxiety and anxiety of growing old, and hence, the want to distance ourselves from old men who are a proxy portrait of our future selves. We see the youthful fearing aging and the old envying youth. Ageism not only reduces the standing of old individuals but of all individuals.”
If elderly people are viewed as helpless and despairing or as worthless individuals in society despite their individual situation and their private past or current contributions, they may eventually assume these negative functions in a kind of LEARNED HELPLESSNESS.
Neutral And Negative Stereotyping
Ageism will not need to be negative but may be superficially favorable, as in assuming that all elderly girls are “grandmotherly” and therefore kindly and sweet, or that all old guys are “grandfatherly.” Nevertheless, ageist stereotyping is much more likely to be negative.
A Perspective Of All Elderly Individuals As Ill And Senile
Frequently, an overriding understanding of the fundamental lifestyles of elderly folks shades how people age 65 and older are seen by younger individuals. By way of example, an “ageist” stereotypical understanding is of the old girl who sits in a rocking chair, knits all day, and always whines about her ailments.
The essential characteristics of the ageist stereotype are frequently frailty, inactivity, and a cause of difficulties or irritation to others. The truth is, some senior folks really are in poor health and are physically inactive; yet, additionally it is true that many elderly folks are energetic and vigorous.
Problems of ARTHRITIS, HYPERTENSION, dizziness, and other medical issues typically improve with aging. Yet, most individuals who are even quite aged can receive medical care which will enhance their medical conditions. Many folks believe that all or most elderly individuals have problems with DEMENTIA, another ageist premise. Although it’s true the danger of dementia increases with age, the bulk of elderly individuals don’t have dementia.
Language That Demeans Old Individuals
Elderly folks may be infantilized, and terms like second childhood, old boys or old women, old coot, old codger geezer and many other words and phrases are accustomed to either pointedly or discreetly deride elderly individuals.
Negative words were once used by many individuals to demean some racial and ethnic groups, but such words and phrases are now considered by most folks to be unacceptable terms. It’s expected that most people would understand that ageist terms are also unacceptable.
Doctors And Ageism
Ageism isn’t always malevolent or hate based but instead may come from a deficiency of knowledge about elderly individuals, as well ingrained ethnic understandings; for example, even many doctors assume that it’s “standard” for old individuals to feel sick, and they may treat their elderly patients less sharply than they would a man who’s 40 or 50 years old. One potential index of this kind of prejudice can be seen when a physician often mentions age as the cause of every medical issue a patient has or if a physician consistently blows off all important or minor criticisms as age based.
An elderly girl with pains in one of her legs was told by her physician that because she was 85, she had to anticipate that such pains would happen. She told him that both her legs were 85 years old but that just one of them harm, redirecting his attention to her physical criticism rather than her age.
Most elderly individuals may also make lifestyle changes that’ll help enhance well-being, like raising their physical activity and eating a healthful diet. The difference between recognizing such differences and ageism comes when physicians and others generalize from all old individuals to one elderly man.
Geriatric researchers have developed a tool to quantify ageist approaches. Some ageist occasions are such items as “a physician or a nurse supposed ailments brought on by age,” “called an insulting name,” “supposed I couldn’t hear well,” and “discounted or not taken seriously.” Based on Erdman Palmore in his report on his ageism survey in a 2001 issue of The Gerontologist, the most commonly occurring type of ageism reported (by 58 percent of respondents) was “I was told a joke that pokes fun at old folks.”
Palmore found that well-informed people (a high school education or less) reported more episodes of ageism than college grads.
Occasionally therapists show ageist prejudice. In a study of therapists’ attitudes toward elderly people, reported in a 2000 issue of Family Process, researchers examined the results of practicing therapists, therapists in training, and nontherapists who were given case histories of elderly people who were ages 74 and 69 and to case histories of younger people ages 29 and 34. Except for age, the married issues described in the case histories were the same. By way of example, both young and old females were afraid of a deficiency of sexual activity originating from their unattractiveness. Both younger and older men in the case histories were acting defensively and had raised their use of alcohol.
The researchers found an important age prejudice across therapists, nontherapists, and therapists in training. The issues of the younger people in the case histories were viewed as more significant and urgent. Said the research workers,
Aging In Place
Staying at home, despite aging and disabilities. Many individuals prefer to live within their houses and not be put in a nursing home if they become medically frail. Many people can “age in place” in an ASSISTEDLIVING FACILITY where meals and crisis care is provided to elderly or handicapped people. The overwhelming majority of seniors would favor an assisted living facility to a nursing home; yet, MEDICARE will not cover the expense of assisted living. In some instances, MEDICAID covers assisted living for low-income seniors if the state has received a Medicaid waiver; yet, this choice can be found in few instances.