Ageism and the Elderly

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By megrob
Words 2645
Pages 11
Ageism and the Elderly

Decrepit, senile, over the hill, old fart or slow driver are often the words you hear when referring to “the elderly”. In 1969, Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging was the first to use the term “ageism” to describe the stereotyping of people because of their age. The term ageism contains a negative bias or attitude toward the aging. This it a form of discrimination. While there is other ‘isms used in American society; sexism, or racism, ageism enables the younger generation to see older people differently, they may be seen as just old people who are no longer able to actively contribute to society. When is a person considered to be old or elderly? There was a time when you were required to retire at the age of 65. But with the economy and life span increasing people work until they cannot. There is no set age but society usually deems a person old when they are able to collect benefits like pensions, social security, medical care or discounted meals. The United States Census Bureau has estimated that the population of those over 65 will increase from 11.4 percent in 2000 to 20.7 percent in 2050. The baby boom generation, those born in the 1950’s will make up sixteen percent of the population in at least ten states by 2020. Some say that by the end of the twenty-first century life expectancy will exceed 100 years of age. Most people want to live a long life, but only if they are mentally and physically able to thrive. Americans in particular want to be young and live forever because our society tells us there is no place for the old. The media and family reiterate to younger generations that getting old is depressing, sad and lonely. The obsession with face-lifts, Botox and liposuction increases the stigma that getting old is close to the end. If older citizens are unable to care for themselves they…...

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