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Ageism and Elderly

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America today boasts of being one of the most democratic countries in the world. As such, the country has numerous numbers of rights groups and organizations that can not be marched with any other country yet the problem that is discrimination against the elderly is still commanding the characters of a good number of its citizens. The elderly are made to feel like they are on the wrong planet.

The vice that is negative stereotype and perception of the old members of the society that is negative is the current description of the discrimination against the elderly. The aspect of negative stereotype in the American society is well brought out in the fields of language and media. The use of demeaning words such as old fart depicts the elderly as being in the period of impotency and unproductive which in the real case might not be the case. Ageism is the term that is used to describe this contra positive bias against the old people. Ageism comes in the form of action, or step, attitude that is with an intention to subordinate another on the basis of age.

Ageism is a sub subject of Ism. Those who fall prey to ageism are rated as minorities. They are minorities not by the virtue of their numbers but by the virtue of their rights being deprived and their privileges denied from the rest of the society.

Ageism is quite different from other forms of Isms such as sexism and racism. This is due to the fact that age does not have the constancy that other isms have. While ones race and sexual orientation are constant age is always a varying factor. As from the above, it will be okay if we conclude that the denial on the basis of age is a direct bigotry against the current old population. This is due to the fact that at some time we shall also be old.

The aspect of ageism can affect an individual from two angles. One can be an ageist and discriminate others on the basis of their age or they can also fall victim of being discriminated against by others when they are old. Once one accepts to be bound by the ageism principals then they fall prey to it (Miller & Stoeckel, 2010).

The world we live in today reveres the youth in an explicit manner. Being young seems to be having life and being old is looked at from an angle of being worthless or of no importance to society in which you exist. This modern attitude brings to us about nine major stereotype types that depict the biasness and stereotypes against the older members of the society. This can be listed as Ugliness, illness, impotency, uselessness, mental degradation, poverty, isolation and even the state of depression. Definitely in the world of reality we know and can prove that one can be old and still be smart. The fact that one has retired does not give them the leeway to conclude that their fate is sealed and hence can not engage in any other income generating activity.

Ageism can be looked at as a simple vice that brings hatred but its effects are so serious. This is considering that the effects affect both the victims and the non victims. The effects cut from all angles may it be social, economic or political implications. The elderly who happen to be the direct victims are forced by this ageism not to unleash their potential as they have no one to support them on their course.

Ageism has a great impact on the mental health of the elderly. If employment for example is being done with ageism in consideration, the older members of the society will not be recruited. This will result to unemployment hence bringing the issue of poverty. Such poverty can lead to malnourishment of the elderly poor. However, ageism can also directly affect the health of the old person or even cause them their life. From a psychological point of view the general self perception of an individual will determine his or her lifespan. Psychological research has shown that the elderly people who have positive take on their age usually have better balance and memory. The studies have also shown that the more positive thinking elderly men who have nothing to care about ageism usually live more by a span of 7 and half years as compared those who have accepted the attitude that comes with ageism.

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Ageism has widely affected the economy of various countries in the world negatively. The societal stereotype that is passed from one generation to the other on ageism has made many to discard their industrial potential and lock themselves in the cocoon of being weak hence need attention and help all the time. The old manpower is left to go to waste yet they happen to have the experience required in various fields (Nairne,, 2008).

Ageism affects the productivity of the elderly in the society. Research has shown that the society tends to live according to the stereotypes that define their time. Basing on this, one would agree that the productivity of an old person who has accepted the branding of being weak will definitely be low. The positive mind of an old person will make them to always live a life of being productive. It is of no coincidence that the positive thinkers who appreciate their old age are still the same who come up with very innovative projects that help the society. Ageism leaves the elderly that a row not employed with only one opting, the option of resolving to begging.

Ageism is an impediment to, proper service delivery by the medical practitioners who have incorporated this attitude to the elderly individuals. Many ailments can go untreated with the notion that they just happen to come with advancement in age. While the examination of the various ailments could have led to the prolongation of the lives of the elderly such ailments are not tested and later become a serious problem and at times result to death.

Altering perceptions

It is unfortunate that most people attach to specific topics such as race. Most people fail to recognize that ageism has eaten our society and particularly America. This starts with the simplest thin g that is Perception which needs to be changed. The negative prejudice against the elderly should be discouraged t all costs.

American Medical Association shows that a quarter to a half of the people above the age of 65 in one way or the other has some ear impairment. While such patients needed to be treated and given assistive devices to aid their impairment most of them are relegated to a condition of no return gear due to their age (Gutman & Spencer, 2010).

Age discrimination is what occurs when an employer uses age as a determining (and negative) factor in a job-related decision. For example, age discrimination takes place when an employer denies an applicant a job based on age. Similarly, age discrimination occurs any time an employer denies training, promotions, or any other opportunities based on age.

Many factors result in age discrimination, including lack of knowledge, ageist attitudes, and myths and stereo-types about older workers. The most common stereo-types about older workers are that older workers are less productive than younger workers; that older workers are more expensive than younger workers; that older workers are less adaptable and more rigid than younger workers; and that older people want to retire early, that they do not want to work (Fred, 2008).

So many employers in the US are architects of ageism including those in the federal and state government. The issue of waylaying older staff and giving them attractive packages so that they can pack is an element of ageism. The retirement benefits and age shouldn’t be viewed as the lifeline of the end of the world. The corporate world in defending this trend argues that the young have the energy to push the companies further yet they are forgetting that most of the managerial jobs are not labor intensive rather they just require skills.

Combating ageism

Altering perceptions

It is unfortunate that most people attach to specific topics such as race. Most people fail to recognize that ageism has eaten our society and particularly America. This starts with the simplest thin g that is Perception which needs to be changed. The negative prejudice against the elderly should be discouraged all costs (Blair-Broeker & Ernst, 2007).

The professionals and the ordinary folk also have a key role to play as far as the prevention of the vice that is ageism is concerned. Physicians for example must put into consideration the fact that all the health complications that may accompany the old may not be assumed to just be due to the age as such . This will go hand in hand in saving very many would be unnecessary deaths. Hence they should always do the normal in depth analysis in dealing with the old people. The ordinary folk should be trained on ways of handling the elderly as they may never at that moment know how it feels to be discriminated on the basis of your age.

Active participation of the elderly people’s in the health care services is very key to their fighting ageism They need to be trained on the importance of actively participating in the process e.g. in way of asking questions. The necessary laws should be formulated to ensure that the minority groups that are the elderly are taken care of. This will cushion such from abuse by individuals with negative age prejudices. The penalties for violation of such rules should be tough to ensure full adherence to the order (Miller & Stoeckel, 2010).

Ageism is a vice that is eating up our society and making it to lose so much that it once boasted of. The spirit of ageism has led to the elderly believing that they are weak and hence there is just to sit back and watch yet they can put there free time to good use and boot their lives by engaging in income generating activities. It is no coincidence that the elderly people in most countries will be found in strategic places begging. The issue that is ageism can not be avoided since everyone will reach the elderly age. This calls for the need to train individuals of how best to handle their of age days.

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