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Older People And Stereotypes

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This essay will discuss how negative stereotypes about ageing are still common, society’s attitude and beliefs about ageing and how they are culturally embedded and in turn have a profound effect on how people view themselves and others who are ageing. We will also discuss stereotypes about elderly, considering physiological, pathological and psychosocial changes and how they may impact on the individual and the health care service provided.

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Youth, beauty and physical strength is what society worships and no wonder, we are constantly bombarded with these images in the media. A common negative stereotype of ageing in society is that the elderly are “frail, dependent, unproductive and a burden on society” (Active ageing, a right or duty). The belief about ageing is that it is something to fear, you will get wrinkles, your hair will become grey, your body will deteriorate and you will slowly make your way to the cemetery to die. “Elderly seem to loose their right of power to make individual choices on how they choose to age”(Active ageing, a right or duty). It does not sound very appealing to age, how did these negative stereotypes become so embedded in our culture today?

“In the 19th century corporations brought in retirement to push aside old, unproductive workers to make way for younger, faster and more productive workers” (Active ageing, a right or duty). Now lets just consider that in the “19th century the life expectancy was 55 years” (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). However we live in an ageing society, never in history have we had so many elderly people in our populations. The “life expectancy these days is 82 years” (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). “This is due to higher standards of health, lower infant mortality, decreasing death rates, sufficient food and safe environment to live in” (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

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