As much as we want to say age is just a number, ageism exists. It is a form of prejudice or discrimination that involves stereotyping, stigmatizing, or discriminating against people based on their age - particularly when they are perceived as being older. It can manifest in various ways, such as through negative attitudes, jokes, comments, and assumptions, and can have negative effects on the well-being and quality of life of older individuals.
It can affect various areas of life, including employment, healthcare, housing, and social interactions, and can to exclusion, marginalization, and unequal treatment; limiting the opportunities and resources available to older individuals. For example
Older adults may face age-based barriers when seeking employment, such as assumptions that they are less productive or unable to learn new skills.
In healthcare, ageism can lead to undertreatment, neglect, or misdiagnosis of health conditions due to stereotypes about aging and older adults.
Older people may be excluded from social activities or community events due to ageist attitudes or assumptions that they are not interested in or able to participate.
Older people who speak languages other than the dominant language in their community may face further discrimination or exclusion from social and economic opportunities.
Combatting ageism requires recognising its harmful effects and promoting positive attitudes and behaviors towards aging and older adults. This includes challenging ageist stereotypes and promoting intergenerational interactions and understanding.
To control and stand up against ageism, there are several things that we as individuals can do. It starts with educating ourselves and learning the concept of positive ageing and it spreads by us promoting it to friends and family, working in the best interests of everyone in the community.
The concept of positive aging has been argued and developed by several scholars and researchers over the years. One of the earliest pioneers of positive aging was Dr. Robert Atchley, who in the 1980s proposed a model of "continuing competence" as a key element of successful aging. Other influential figures in the field include Dr. Laura Carstensen, who has conducted extensive research on the emotional aspects of aging and the importance of social connections, and Dr. John Rowe, who has emphasized the need for a public health approach to aging that promotes healthy lifestyles and the prevention of illnesses and conditions that can negatively impact the lives of older people.
Positive aging refers to the process of growing older in a way that promotes well-being, satisfaction, and fulfillment. It involves developing a positive attitude toward aging and finding ways to maintain physical and mental health, social connections, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Positive aging is not about denying the challenges or limitations that can come with aging, but rather it is about focusing on the opportunities and possibilities that aging can bring. Some of the key elements of positive aging include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying socially engaged, pursuing meaningful activities and interests, and developing a positive attitude towards aging. It helps individuals age with dignity, purpose, and vitality.
Positive aging is about educating EVERYONE, including the young. Many people may experience some degree of fear or anxiety about growing old as aging is often associated with physical decline and the development of chronic health conditions, which can impact an individual's ability to perform daily activities, participate in hobbies, and maintain social connections. This loss of independence can be distressing for many individuals. That’s where our mindset comes to play and where we start practicing positive aging, because growing older and wiser is fun!
Here’s to making a positive difference :D
The Knowledge Tree