Anti aging guide

What is Ageism?



Are You Ageist?

Ageism is a prejudice and negative discrimination towards old age. It is equivalent to feminism or racism. Ageism is profoundly rooted in our modern society therefore it may be very difficult to spot. Older people can themselves be ageists without realizing it.

Sometimes, when I meet young people, I ask them the following questions:

  • Do you think that as we grow old our health will get significantly worse?
  • Does the sense of adventure decline considerably with age?
  • Do you believe that most people over the age of 60 have no interest in gender?
  • Do you estimate that about one in 10 pensioners lives in residential accommodation (old people’s homes)?

Most answer `yes’ to all of these questions. This shows how ageist our youth is. If you answered ‘yes’ even once, then you are ageist too. The fact is that health, the sense of adventure and intimacy do not necessarily get worse with the passage of years. There are millions of older people who are completely healthy, are productive and enjoy life in general. Research shows that the majority of people over the age of 75 who have a partner have regular intimate intercourse. Only one in 25 pensioners lives in residential accommodation.

If you are still not convinced, consider this: two thirds of British adults believe that older people are not respected by younger people. Also, a questionnaire addressed to 16-25-year-olds revealed that they consider ‘old’ people to be those who are 50 and over. This tells you how ageist our youth is.

Many of you must have seen the British traffic sign depicting an old couple carrying walking sticks with the warning: ‘Disabled People’. Who on Earth designed this sign? Why should age be a sign of disability? And, for that matter, why should we be careful of older people in particular? It is a different matter if there are disabled elderly people in the area, but a healthy able-bodied older.person should not be treated any differently from anybody else.

Likewise, when we see the notice ‘Please give your seat up to an elderly person’ in trains and buses, don’t you think that is discrimination. Who is elderly? The Oxford Dictionary describes ‘elderly’ as ‘a person past middle age’. Perhaps the sign should say ‘frail person’, drawing our attention to somebody who is physically weak and not merely to somebody who is over a certain age. I think it is insulting when people over the age of 25 offer their seat to other healthy people just because they appear to be ‘elderly’. It is as if they are saying: ‘Look at me, I am strong and fit, whereas you are so weak and pathetic that you can’t even stand for a few minutes.’ Children or very young people should show respect to senior citizens and offer their seat as a mark of gallant value, but not because they think that they are stronger or fitter than the older person.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - January 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm