Ageism, the Third Great “ism”
“Ageism has been called the ultimate prejudice, the last discrimination, the cruelest rejection,” Stein (unpublished). We as a people have defeated for the most part racism and sexism, but we have allowed the third great “ism” to remain unchallenged. “This widely practiced prejudice has gone on for generations and is known as ageism,” (Palmore, Erdman, Ballagh (1999). By definition, according to Webster’s Dictionary, it is discrimination against person’s of a certain age group. Ageism includes both positive affect and a negative connotation with any given age group. It is predominately seen as a reflection on the elderly. Positive aspects of ageism on the elderly include medical care, discounts and tax breaks. Some negative examples include views that the elderly are inferior, societal stigma, and discrimination in the job market due to their age.
Although “isms” are often regarded in a negative light, ageism offers some positive aspects to the ageing. One such result is the “affordability of national health insurance (Medicare) and discrimination in favor of the aged” (Palmore, Erdman, Ballagh, (1999). The elderly have been enjoying the benefits of their age group for years. The treatment is known as positive ageism. Medicare is the predominant force in positive ageism because seniors tend to be granted more governmental support with services and privileges of being supported by Social Security benefits, and tax exemption of Social Security benefits (Palmore, Erdman, Ballagh (1999). Medicare will provide the payments and services for seniors as well as veterans for the use of nursing homes and assisted living in the amount of on average seven thousand dollars per month per individua...
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... This small job does not provide enough income to allow him to be treated in a hospital so he is forced to sit to earn a living.
The positive and negative aspects of aging shape the world for how we perceive the elderly. This great “ism” should be dealt with and put to rest for once and for all. In order to defeat this stereotypical prejudice the population must take action. It can be as simple as insuring the elderly receive the proper services or the support of research on aging to better the understanding of the limitations and abilities that we may all be faced with one day. Individuals should make an effort to respect and acknowledge that these people have a vital impact and role in society. People should take a step back and remember that they could be their sister, mother, brother, and one day it could be them on the receiving side of this prejudice.
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