Ageism: Changing Our Views As We Embrace Elders With Respect And Care
Updated: Feb 8
Ageism is the term for stereotypes (how we see the world), prejudice (how we feel about others), and discrimination (how we treat people) that are based on age.
Everyone is impacted by ageism. Children as young as 4 years old become conscious of the age stereotypes in their culture. From that point on, they internalize these stereotypes and utilize them to control their attitudes and actions toward individuals of various ages.
In order to perceive and comprehend themselves, they also rely on cultural age stereotypes, which can lead to self-directed ageism at any age. Ageism combines with other forms of discrimination, such as those based on sex, race, and disability, and makes them worse.
In Europe, the only region for which data are available on all age groups, younger individuals report experiencing more age discrimination than other age groups. Half of the world's population is ageist toward older people.
Ageism has wide-ranging negative effects on human health, lifespan, and well-being as well as the solidarity between generations. It can also negatively affect our ability to benefit from the contributions of both younger and older people.
For instance, ageism is linked to worse physical and mental health, an earlier mortality (by 7.5 years), and a worse recovery from disability as people age. Ageism also worsens our quality of life by encouraging harmful health habits like smoking, binge drinking, and eating unhealthily. Ageism was the cause of one out of every seven dollars (US$ 63 billion) spent annually in the United States on healthcare for the eight most expensive conditions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Ageism can be reduced or eliminated through the use of three strategies: intergenerational interventions, educational initiatives, and legislative and legal measures.
Age-based prejudice and inequality can be addressed by policy and law, and everyone's human rights are protected everywhere. By presenting correct facts and anti-stereotypical examples, educational activities can improve empathy, eliminate myths about various age groups, and lessen prejudice. Intergroup bias and stereotypes can be lessened by intergenerational interventions that bring people from various generations together.
That being said, here are Dependable Care Staffing’s tips on how to honor our elders.
Seniors can contribute their lifetime of experience. They belong to a generation that lived through the Second World War, the Vietnam War, the Great Recession, and the Great Depression. We must remember and respect our elders since they have had a significant impact on our society, both historically and currently, and have much to teach us about adapting to change and overcoming adversity.
It's vital to keep in mind that our elders have a lot of wisdom to share, even if their hearing or memory aren't as sharp as they once were. For example, reading about Pearl Harbor is one thing, but hearing about it from a first-hand observer is much more fascinating.
If you live too far away from your senior loved one to visit them frequently, pick up the phone and call them instead. Phone calls are a personal approach to express and demonstrate your concern. It's simple to overlook how much it will mean to a senior if we take the time out of our day to say "hi" in our busy lives.
Discuss family heritage, history and traditions
Family stories have an undeniable strength. Actually, compiling an oral family history can teach about family genetics, personalities, and more, as well as unite family members and strengthen links between generations. Because they have a better sense of their origins and identity, children who are more aware of their family history also tend to exhibit more emotional resilience, as well as being able to deal with difficulties and stress in more effective ways.
Spend time with them and listen sincerely
It's important to make time to visit elderly loved ones to not only spend precious time with them and learn from them; but also to give them purpose, as relationships are key to healthy aging. Many seniors seek personal conversations, whether they are retired and no longer have their work social schedule, or they've lost their spouse and some friends.
One of the oldest social practices in human history is communal eating. You get to catch up while feeding your body and having fun. Try to eat together frequently, whether you visit your senior loved one's home, go out to a favorite restaurant, or pack a picnic.
Ask for advice
Some of society's brightest people are the elderly. It is sad to consider that an elderly person with decades of experience would go unconsulted. Seeking advice from an older person is a good use of your time because seniors have a lot to offer society through their life experiences. You will certainly value the sentiment.
Tell them how much you respect and appreciate them
Even if you show your respect for your elders through your deeds, it's crucial to express your feelings to them directly. Compliments are extremely uplifting and give people — especially older ones — a sense of purpose. Please make an effort to spend time with any elderly citizens who have had a positive impact on you; it will make them happy.
If you’re looking for an agency that sincerely cares for, respects, and supports your elderly loved ones, no one does it better than the therapists and caregivers at Dependable Care Staffing. Give us a call now!
The information provided on the site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice.
Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.