The image of aging depicted in the media has generally been one of negative stereotyping, a portrayal that seems to be more negative than any other social group. Repeated exposure to negative stereotypes about aging and the elderly in commercial advertising can lead to a devaluing of the elderly.
The mass media are a potent source of socialization and may shape attitudes, especially those of children, toward the elderly. The majority of the studies found that the elderly were generally depicted in a negative light and that elderly characters were rarely cast in major roles or fully developed.
Older adults are labeled with negative statements such as; wrinkled, cranky, crotchety, inattentive, forgetful, fragile, feeble, stuck in the past, past their prime, or a burden on society. There are a lot of factors that may be responsible for the modern day perception of the elderly.
What might be the result if continued emphasis is placed on learning and creativity, keeping the elderly actively engaged in our culture? Ageist views will decrease as the elderly are seen as contributors to society.
Ageism, also spelled agism, is stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism.
How do seniors contribute to society? Like any younger person, they shop, they use services (which employ people), and they pay taxes. Seniors do housework, home maintenance and yard work — not just for themselves, but for others as well. They provide transportation or run errands for others.
Older persons play important social roles in assisting their children, taking on care responsibilities, performing household tasks or working as volunteers in the community. Their contributions in providing wisdom and advice to younger generations and the society as a whole should be acknowledged.
Cultural beliefs shape social norms and values surrounding the aging process and the role of older people. These beliefs about aging are not static—they shift and change as society evolves. We then explore positive and negative aging myths that perpetuate ageism and their impact on older adults.
Many believe it is our culture’s negative depiction of aging. In many other cultures, however, old age is revered. The elderly are highly valued, and the process of aging is embraced. Below are some examples of how cultural attitudes toward aging in non-US countries affect the life experiences of their inhabitants.
Which of the following are reasons why the elderly contribute so much more to health care costs in the US? Older adults comprise an increasing proportion of the US population. Alzheimer disease is particularly expensive to treat. Older adults are more likely to be consumers rather than producers.
Workplace Rights: Six Examples of Age Discrimination
5 Signs of Age Discrimination
Age discrimination limits older Filipinos’ access to employment. In hiring practices of employers, arbitrary age requirements bar older persons from getting employed. Similarly, some employers also impose early retirement due to a person’s old age.