Hayes & Roadin – 2003 developed four factors as a measure to understand the aging process. They are:
The following information is provided by The World Health Organization (WHO) concerning ageism.
The term “ageism” was coined by Robert Neil Butler in 1969. The definition of ageism refers to the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others based on age.
Data from the 2020 National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 82% of older Americans reported experiencing ageism regularly, 65% experienced ageist messages from the media, 45% experienced interpersonal intentional ageism and 46% had internalized ageism.
Ageism has far reaching consequences and effects all age groups worldwide. As a person ages, their physical and mental health declines requiring greater care. With the need for greater care the cost of this care increases. WHO reported that the United States spends billions of dollars each year to treat the elderly’s medical and mental health condition.
Ageism is associated with an earlier death; estimated to be 7.5 years on average. They are seen as less capable and worthy of care.
Education – Provide a better understanding of the process and how to manage this process.
Intergenerational Intervention – Develop and encourage more cooperation, compassion and empathy between the age groups.
The aging process involves many factors including heredity/genetics, cultural, nutritional, level of exercise, level of education, early child development process, plus many more. It is a complex process which requires a good deal of patience, diligence, foresight, planning and fortitude.
I would like to conclude with a brief vignette. My mother-in-law, who was a mother to me was diagnosed with lymphoma at age 88. She received treatment for it successfully! She was a sage with a willingness to share her wisdom and life experiences. I am sure that if I asked her about ageism she would respond with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face. “Those people should be forgiven for they known not what they are thinking or saying.” She lived another 15 years and passed peacefully at 103 years old. Her beacon of light continues to shine brightly to this day.
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