Ageism : A Form Of Discrimination And Prejudice Against The Elderly Population

Ageism : A Form Of Discrimination And Prejudice Against The Elderly Population

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One in nine people in the world are over the age 60; this number will only continue to increase with the aging of the baby boomers (Kydd, 2014). With this prevalent population in the world, an older adult will most likely experience some form of ageism. Nearly 77% of the elderly population will experience a form of ageism during their lifespan (Nemmers, 2004). Ageism is a form of discrimination and prejudice against the elderly population sheerly just based on their age, similar to that of racism and sexism (Miller, 2012). The effects of ageism are numerous, and they have positive and negative aspects on an older adult’s health. Ageism occurs and still continues to exist in the American society today for multiple reasons. Younger and middle adults tend to fear and feel powerless with death and aging; they tend to cope with these feelings with ageism and the negative stereotypes about the older adult (Miller, 2012). There are several types of myths in the American culture that surround ageism. Older adults are a valuable asset to the American society with their knowledge and life experience. For ageism to change in the American culture nurses a fundamental role in changing the ageist culture of society. Nurses might encounter some barriers along their journey in changing the ageist culture in American society.
Ageism continues to be an epidemic in the American culture because of inadequate information about the aging process that are continued to be passed on from generation to generation. Parents have installed negative ageist attitudes and myths about the elderly population onto their children (“Ageism”, n.d). The myths that surround ageism typically have a negative aspect for the elderly population. With the inadequate informa...

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...y 77% of the elderly population experiences ageism during their lifespan it is time for nurses and other healthcare professionals to combat ageism (Nemmers, 2004). It has become culturally and socially acceptable to maintain ageist beliefs that all older adults experience illnesses and memory impairment that are part of the normal aging process such as illness and memory impairment and that these illnesses are an expected part of aging. The nurse might experience barriers when combating ageism such as lack of education and clinical experience with the elderly population. It is time for the nurse to become aware about ageism and act as a change agent by advocating for his or her patients, acting as a role model and instilling positive attitudes about aging. Older adults are valuable asset to society with their knowledge and life experience, it is time to end ageism.

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