Ageism and the Elderly

2651 Words Aug 5th, 2010 11 Pages
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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Other countries, like Japan and China consider their older citizens honorable and are treated with respect and honor. There are very few retirement homes in these countries because these families honor their elders and thrive on the wisdom they can offer. So when they are unable to care themselves family members step in and take care of them. Society put’s people into classifications. Even though there are laws to protect classification (also known as stereotyping) it is done every day, there are classifications for race, religion, even sexual orientation. So as people progress through life their classification also changes; start school, age 4; graduate high school and attend college, age 18; graduate from college and procure gain full-time employment, age 25; stop working, age 65. So unless you die at a young age everyone will experienced some sort-of ageism. Ageism can be inflicted upon oneself. Our society worships youthfulness and to be young you need to be sexy, full of energy, somewhat thin and no wrinkles. So since most seniors are none of those they tend to feel less than worthy, isolated, and become depressed. These can cause a decline in mental and physical capabilities leading to just giving up. Because of financial responsibility most seniors started working at young ages. With the companies changing to more technology capabilities they have been forced to cut cost and workforce.

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