Age-related prejudice (AGEISM) is a major problem for seniors. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines AGEISM:
“AGEISM is the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age; AGEISM can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.”
AGEISM has Harmful Effect on Health of Seniors
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are around 600 million seniors over age 60 all over the world. By 2025 this number will double and by 2050 the number of seniors all over the world will reach two billion. The WHO reports that AGEISM has a harmful effect on the health of seniors, especially for heart disease and strokes.
AGEISM Now Believed to be the Most Common Type of Prejudice
According to a Canadian study on AGEISM published May, 2019 in Aging Research Reviews, AGEISM is now believed to be the most common form of prejudice. Unfortunately, the full impact of this kind of prejudice against the senior population is not completely recognized. The study was launched by two nursing professors from the University of Alberta, Gail Low and Donna M. Wilson. According to these researchers, many societies today are totally youth oriented and there is no real respect or caring about the welfare of seniors.
The Study Examined Questionnaires used by Researchers all over the World
The nursing professors examined questionnaires used by researchers all over the world. Results were:
48-91% of all seniors had experienced AGEISM.
50-98% of younger people admitted to having discriminatory feelings and prejudicial behavior against seniors.
False Prejudiced Beliefs about the Elderly
Some of the false prejudiced beliefs about seniors were:
Seniors are unproductive and a drain on society.
However, the reality is that one in five Canadian seniors over the age of 65 are still working at their jobs. Also, more than a third of Canadian seniors are active in volunteer work. The United States has one of the highest rates of people older than age 65 in the workforce.
Seniors comprise all the acute care hospital beds.
The fact is that only about 20% of hospitalized patients are seniors.
Most seniors live in nursing homes.
The fact is that only about 3% of Canadian seniors are chronically ill and in long-term care.
AGEISM has a Negative Effect on Children
AGEISM has a negative effect on children who witness the lack of respect shown to seniors. These children will grow up believing that once they reach age 60-65 they will be useless and boring. They will be apathetic about taking care of themselves and getting physical exercise. They will not keep on working at a job or do volunteer work. They will no longer go out to socialize. If they lose their spouse they will not try to find a new one, as they will believe that they will be the next one to pass away.
AGEISM has to be Recognized in order to Combat it
AGEISM has to be recognized in order to combat it. For instance, the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against people age 40 and older in the United States.
Quiz to Test for AGEISM by the World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has put together a short quiz to test for AGEISM for people to take to discover if they have prejudicial thoughts about seniors.
Short or Long-term Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care
If you or your loved one are in need of short or long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, be sure to choose a facility like the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey. Park Crescent offers a warm and family-like environment.
AGEISM has to be confronted, especially so that seniors will view themselves in a positive light.