Ageism Essay

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Ageism 1 Running head: AGEISM: STEROTYPING & DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE ELDERLY Ageism: Western Culture Stereotyping & Discrimination Against the Elderly Andrew Wiertel Hilbert College Human Services Senior Seminar Professor Sisti December 1, 2010 Ageism 2 Ageism and age discrimination could affect anyone throughout their life, from children to senior citizens. However, I wish to focus on stereotyping and discrimination against the elderly. I grew up visiting and caring for my elderly grandfathers in Nursing Homes. I also worked in an adult residence home while in high school. My grandmothers currently are living in adult housing. I have been fortunate because I do not have many biases against the elderly most likely due to my exposure to the senior population during my developing years. Although, I too, see the familiar signs of aging as noted by Hendricks (2005) wrinkles, gray hair, hearing aids, or more consequential changes, fuel a kind of pejorative imagery or stigmatization that has been labeled ageism. Nelson (2005) reflects, that walking down the street, you glance at people, which triggers an attending automatic categorization of each individual along three dimensions: race, gender, and age. So who are the elderly in the United States? According to Administration on Aging, the older population persons 65 years or older numbered 39.6 million in 2009 represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. Marshall and Altpeter (2005) have acknowledged by 2005, with the ageing of the baby boomers, the number of older adults ages 65 and older will triple, and the proportion of the 85 plus age group will increase to about five percent of the total population. The fastest

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