Attitudes Towards Older People Essay

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Attitudes towards Older People

Attitudes and treatment towards elderly people can be said to vary drastically across cultures. From Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the America's, Africa and
Australia, the attitudes expressed by the community towards older people are very different when compared to one another.

An `attitude' can be defined as `a mental view or disposition' (Wilkes & Krebs,
1987), or if the content is used in has a psychological basis ` the learned, relative stable tendency to respond to people, concepts, and events in an evaluative way'
(Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2002).

When discussing `older people' there is no way of determining an exact definition that all people will agree on, as it is a socially
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Australian society's attitudes towards the elderly are interesting as they display a slightly negative response. In a recent survey conducted by `The Office of
Seniors Interest', it was discovered that one third of the population believed that people over seventy years of age had lost some of their mental capacity, and one fifth believed that people over seventy years had `nothing or little to offer the community'
(The Office of Seniors Interest, 2001). Considering this survey, Australian society does not possess a positive attitude towards the elderly but instead believe that `they just get in the way' (The Office of Seniors Interest, 2001). Although, this is the case, support and information groups are being founded regularly in an attempt to increase public awareness of the lives and lifestyle of the elderly to try to change the trend in attitudes across the nation.

While Afro-American's display a fairly `positive attitude towards the aging and display a great deal of respect towards the aged' (Ajrouch, Antonucci & Janevic,
2003), Anglo-Saxon Americans are said to hold similar attitudes as Australians.
Considering this, elder abuse and neglect is most prominent in America as `every year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological or other forms of abuse and neglect' (American
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