Dispelling the Myths of Ageism Essay

Dispelling the Myths of Ageism Essay

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Ageism is prejudice in which people are categorized and judged solely on the basis of their chronological age (Berger, 2008). Our western culture has embedded ageism into our everyday lives, and we may not be able to identify the ageist behavior when it occurs. Older adults are frequently given negative labels such as senile, sad, lonely, poor, sexless, ill, dependent, demented, and disabled. (McGuire, Klein, Shu-Li, 2008) It is inevitable that we will experience decline in physical and mental capacities. However, the timing, quality, and degree of the aging process are highly variable and very different for each individual. General assumptions and stereotypes about aging are harmful to individual senior adults and do not benefit society.
After World War II ended in 1945, veterans returned home to get married and start families which resulted in a “baby boom.” This generation, which has been dubbed “Baby Boomers,” was born between 1946 and 1964. In 2011 this generation will begin to reach age 65, which is a pivotal age for senior adults. In 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to be 88.5 million, more than double its projected population of 40.2 million in 2010. The baby boomers are largely responsible for this increase in the older population, as they will begin crossing into this category in 2011. (US Census Bureau, 2010). With our population shifting to an older demographic, ageism will weigh heavily on our society and the importance of researching, discussing and finding solutions to ageism will come to the forefront.
By definition, ageism is a form of discrimination that can occur at any age. However, it is the senior population that has been distressed the most. Only a few of the man...


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Palmore, E. (2004). Research note: Ageism in Canada and the United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 19(1), 41-46. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Palmore, E. (2005). Three decades of research on ageism. Generations, 29(3), 87-90. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Ryan, E., Jin, Y., Anas, A., & Luh, J. (2004). Communication beliefs about youth and old age in Asia and Canada. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 19(4), 343-360. doi:10.1023/B:JCCG.0000044688.27282.7b.
US Census Bureau (2010), The next four decades: The older population in the United States 2010 to 2050, Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p25-1138.pdf
Zhou, L. (2007). What college students know about older adults: A cross-cultural qualitative study. Educational Gerontology, 33(10), 811-831. doi:10.1080/03601270701364545.

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