Ageism Essay

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Ageism Joyce F. Moore HCA 442 Issues in Aging Emily Abel, Instructor March 12, 2012 Ageism Ageism for the first time in American history, “the oldest old”—those over 85 are now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Medical advances have enabled an unprecedented number of Americas to live longer, healthy lives. So, what is ageism? Ageism is a social attitude. It is a way of looking at the older people that stereotypes them, just as people of particular races may be stereotyped as “smart”, ”industrious”, “thrifty”, “lazy”, or “easy going”, or when men and women are stereotyped as being “strong, “nurturing” or “sensitive” because of their gender. Why do people want to treat people that turn 65 differently? Why does their attitude change? Being treated differently means being treated as “less”—values, less capable etc. That is ageism. Let’s find out some information on ageing and try and look at ageing in a different manor. Older people are often stereotyped as weak, frail, and disabled. However, sometimes there are positive stereotypes of aging, when people assume all older people are wise or caring. Ageism can involve stereotypes and myths, or outright disdain and dislike. (e.g., “I don’t like working with older people”.) In some cases, ageism means avoiding contact with older people. Ageism includes the wide range of attitudes that prevent people from accurately assessing and responding to social problems and conditions of older adults. Ageism can be reflected in discriminatory practices in housing, employment, and services of all kinds. Negative attitudes towards older persons stem from myths about aging, the aging process, and being old. Ageism often intersects with and can be reinforced by other kinds of discriminations

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