Ageism

Just read the following in an old textbook and felt that it was a really good reminder of what I think is a big part of our jobs. Battling ageism; against society, co-workers, relatives, clients – and ourselves.

Ageism has been defined as a process of systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old . . . Old people are categorized as senile, rigid in thought and manner, old-fashioned in morality and skills . . . Ageism allows the younger generation to see older people as different from themselves, thus they subtly cease to identify with their elders as human beings.

Ageism, like all prejudices, influences the self view and behaviour of its victims.

The elderly tend to adopt negative definitions of themselves and perpetuate the very stereotypes directed against them, thereby reinforcing society’s beliefs. 

R. N. Butler, Why Survive? Being Old in America. (New York: Harper & Row, 1975)

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