Did you know that according to WHO research findings, one in every two people worldwide is ageist against older individuals? Ageism is widespread in our societies, impacting individuals of all ages, from children to the elderly. However, statistics demonstrate that ageism disproportionately affects elderly individuals compared to the younger population.
What Is Ageism?
Ageism can be described as the stereotyping and prejudice against people centered around their age. This is an increasingly prevalent problem in our society, with people experiencing ageism regularly in their personal life and at work. However, it is frequently overlooked.
People of all ages face ageism. Unfortunately, since we prefer to glorify young age, the number of older people who face ageism is substantially higher than that of younger individuals. Ageism can begin at a tender age. For example, we are reminded from a young age that elderly people may be unable to provide for themselves and that aging is an undesirable process.
In most cases, we acquire these messages through the media, from TV series that portray older people as weak and clueless and product advertisements that claim to erase all indications of aging.
Ageism is more accepted in our communities than other concerns like racism or sexism. However, this does not excuse us from disregarding this issue. It can negatively impact older individuals' mental health and social well-being and cause them to face financial crises.
Thankfully many nonprofit organizations and senior care services have started the conversation on ageism and are actively working to reduce the stereotype and discrimination against people due to their age.
Types of Ageism
Ageism is divided into different types, including:
- Self-directed ageism occurs when people form negative perceptions of their age. Some examples of self-directed ageism include people beginning to doubt their abilities due to their age or believing they might have become a burden on their loved ones.
- Institutional ageism can be described as the ageism prevalent in our social norms and rules that may be unfair to older individuals. For example, workplaces set age limits for individuals who can apply for specific roles.
- Interpersonal ageism refers to ageism occurring among two individuals, from family members to colleagues. For example, bosses expect older individuals to perform fewer tasks than younger employees.
How Can We Stop Ageism?
Since ageism is becoming more prevalent in our societies, it is now necessary for us to take action to combat it. Some ways we can contribute to stopping ageism include:
- Spread awareness about ageism and its negative impacts
- Come out with laws that protect older individuals from discrimination in the workplace
- Speaking out against people who make ageist comments
- Raising awareness of the issue of ageism in children at a young age
With the rise of ageist stereotypes and prejudice against older adults, we must understand what ageism is and how we can prevent it from impacting our loved ones and ourselves.
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