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Ageist Stereotypes in Our Society

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Introduction

“Everyone all ages, all genders, all nationalities is old or future old.” Says Ashton Applewhite, the most well-known anti-ageism activist. Does it seem fair that the younger generations make elder’s feel less worthy simply because they are old? How would you feel if your grandparents were being discriminated? The upcoming key aspects are the effects of ageism and how seniors give us an understanding of our history.

What is Ageism?

Ageism is discrimination, stereotyping and mistreating a person by their age. People don’t view ageism the same as other issues such as racism, sexism, ableism and more. Ageism doesn’t receive as much attention as these oppressions. Many myths and stereotypes are being implemented on seniors and older adults especially in the workplace, but they have a lot of experience and wisdom to be able to share with younger generations. They have also faced many historical events during their lifetime and can see just how much our society has changed and advanced in technology.

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The fact is that ageism can occur to any given time. Applewhite says that “I prefer the terms ‘olders’ and ‘youngers’ which are value-neutral and emphasize that age is a spectrum. “. Ageism can occur to younger and older people as ageism can be limiting someone from doing something. Whether that may be saying that they can’t do something because they are too young or too old.

Keep Working and Retiring

In the TED Talk ‘teens experience ageism too’ Amelia Conway, a child director, questioned, “Why can’t someone 80 keep working if they love what they do?” Although she mainly defended the opposing side of this topic, she made a point with this question. If someone loves, what they do then they have the right to be doing it for the rest of their life. We live in a society where the norm is to retire at a certain age, but it shouldn’t be this way, we should be able to spend the rest of our life however we want.

Elder Abuse

The younger generations seem to pay less attention to the elders. Rather, most of the attention that they do receive is negative. Elder abuse appears in the media too often. According to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney, 1 out of 14 elder abuse incidents appears in the media many of them don’t so many incidents of elder abuse that goes on that the public doesn’t know about. Especially, in this day and age social media grows rapidly and continues to contribute to elder abuse. How many times have you heard that somebody killed their grandmother? This is certainly unacceptable for our society.

Fear of Growing Up and Stereotypes About the Elderly

The lack of respect for elders makes our society so afraid of growing up. “We are all afraid of one aspect of getting old,” says Applewhite. Much of our generation and society seem to perceive elders a certain way. The younger generations create many stereotypes of elders. Many stereotypes are made by younger people, thinking that they are bored, lonely and poorly fed. Young people also think that the elderly had “their turn” and should make way for them. I think that is very self-absorbed and wrong. This is not the mentality that our generation should have because it is very neglecting. The young also feel that older people should “act their age” and not copy their speech, clothing, style, etc. All these stereotypes are unacceptably wrong because society doesn’t want elders to feel included and are neglecting them from our society. In reality, ageism occurs more than we think. Some examples of elderly being mistreated are not getting a seat on the bus because a younger person decides not to get up for them, people losing their patience and getting angry at them, people assume they are deaf, have a hard time reading the paper, society preventing them from doing certain activities that young people enjoy.

Valuing the Elderly

Seniors are an important part of our society because they’ve helped us grow, taught us valuable lessons and have experienced historical events that could tell us a lot about our history and how far our society has come. Some Seniors may also have to deal with Alzheimer’s, dementia, memory loss, hair loss and more. Although memory loss and hair loss may be a typical part of aging, Alzheimer’s and dementia aren’t. Alzheimer’s is a disease that many young people believe is a part of aging and growing old and that all old people will get Alzheimer’s. Society should value the elderly as they are a part of our ancestry, history, and background. Asian and indigenous cultures tend to value the elderly highly as a part of their identity. This should be implemented in western society because it’s unfair of the elderly to feel disrespected, neglected and to feel not a part of our modern society.

Conclusion

To summarize myths and stereotypes are implemented on seniors and older adults. Seniors and Older adults are vital for our generation as they can carry out knowledge and wisdom for the younger generations. Young children and seniors should expand their bonds, despite the age gap they need to for a relationship because they are both not the “majority of age.” We should cherish moments with our families, as we never know when we’d say goodbye. Ageism is the biggest barrier of forming communication, bonding, and family relationships of the age gaps. Solving ageism can be a difficult task, but we can only do our best by preventing it from happening. We can prevent it by communicating with older people, speak up for the elderly, raising awareness on the topic of ageism, avoid joking about elders and much more but those are only a few ways we can prevent it.

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