Ageism and the Elderly Essay

Words: 2655
Pages: 11

Ageism and the Elderly

Decrepit, senile, over the hill, old fart or slow driver are often the words you hear when referring to “the elderly”. In 1969, Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging was the first to use the term “ageism” to describe the stereotyping of people because of their age. The term ageism contains a negative bias or attitude toward the aging. This it a form of discrimination. While there is other ‘isms used in American society; sexism, or racism, ageism enables the younger generation to see older people differently, they may be seen as just old people who are no longer able to actively contribute to society. When is a person considered to be old or elderly? There was a time when you
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This creates a financial burden often referred to as economic ageism. The financial circumstances not only affect money in the pocket but affect, medical, food and even social activity abilities. For just these reasons congress has enacted the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, this prevents people from getting fired because of their age. In addition, the American Association of Retired Persons fights for senior citizens when they feel they have been “squeezed” out of job because of their age. Research has been done on ageism and the affects but there is still a great deal to do. Changes need to be done with those individuals doing the research and the content. For example, most of the ageism researchers are using children and young adults to examine their perception of older adults. The other problem with the research is that adults from institutions are being used; this does not give a clear picture of the elderly in life settings. The majority are not effectively being represented in the studies. Additionally, research is not attempting to understand or examine the causes of ageism or any experimental research has been performed to view the contributing factors of ageism. Healthcare has both indirect and direct affects on the wellbeing of the elderly. When a person looses a job it can be financial and emotional devastating. Now try to image