Ageism is bias and discrimination based on age and it affects older adults more than any other age group.
To start, I want to give you a few examples of what ageism looks like in every day life.
Start by thinking about older adults in your every day life. And, ask yourself if you've ever had any of these thoughts?
Watch and learn!
Researchers are very curious about ageism and how it affects older adults. In order to really capture ageism, researchers study what people (just like you and me) believe about older adults. You know! To find out what sorts of stereotypes we have about older adults. Here's what they found.
The stereotypes that we old about older adults are that they are:
And the list goes on!
But these thoughts about older adults are totally inaccurate.
Let me dispel a few more myths:
When in fact most older adults are good drivers and modify their driving when they experience physical and medical changes. They are actually most likely to wear their seat belt and the least likely group to drink and drive. Learn more about older adults and driving here: Why Is Driving So Important to Seniors (EP #013)
Nope! It's not. Check out more information in this episode -> Dementia is NOT a Normal Part of Aging (Ep #024)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1% to 5% of people 65 and older living in the community have depression. The rates increase a bit when older adults are in the hospital for a medical problem, but only to 11.5%, and still a little bit more to 13.5% when older adults require home health care assistance in their home.
And it doesn’t stop here, because we, as a society, hold many ageist thoughts, and are constantly influenced by media and misinformation, it shapes the way medical and mental health providers treat older adults, too! Studies show:
>> 35% of physicians wrongly consider an increase in blood pressure to be a normal process of aging
>> Only 10% of older adults receive appropriate screening tests for:
>> 60% of older adults don’t receive the recommended preventive services
As you can imagine, this takes a serious toll on older adults. In fact, scientists have linked ageism to:
And probably one of the most impactful statistics is that ageism actually can shorten a person’s life span. Ageism plays a huge role in how older adults view aging... and themselves!
Older adults who have a positive view of aging live 7.5 years longer than those who do not! And what influences how a person views themself and their age? Ageism.
I wanted to share with you an important freebie, that's something free, I made just for you. It's called, The Ultimate Caring for Aging Parents Checklist. This Checklist will get you started with managing the most complicated situations with your aging parents, including how to start the conversation about needs and wishes with aging, a list of essential documents you'll need to gather, and strategies for taking care of yourself along the way. So, take a moment to download it.
I'm a Stanford trained, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist specializing with older adults and families! I'm an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and a staff Psychologist working with older adults and families at the Atlanta VA Health Care System. I'm a mom of two little kids and a daughter to aging parents.
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