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Ageism: Views That Need Debunking

By Lee Nyberg, 10:18 pm on

What is ageism?

Ageism is a term that was established in 1968 by Robert Butler, M.D. who was a practicing geriatrician. Like racism or sexism, ageism is also a problem because of myths, stereotypes and misunderstandings that develop across a society. These ideas create a sense of oppression or neglect towards the aging population in our society because of misjudging who they are and their needs.

4 Views on Aging that Need Debunking

1. They are all alike

“Variety” is a better descriptor for the aging population. Every person is still different as they age. In fact, some may argue that as people grow older they are more different among their cohort because they have faced several different circumstances in life and have had opportunities to respond in a variety of ways. Plus, they have all developed different skills, strengths and ideologies throughout their life span. What do they need that is the same? Basic human needs

2. All of them are senile

Not everyone succumbs to this disease, more commonly called dementia. For people over the age of 65, they have a 5-7% chance of getting this disease, and there is a 20% chance for people over 85 years old. For the rest of the population they keep learning. What can they learn as they age? They can learn many things, and most continue to do so.

3. Everyone gets depressed as they age

It is not normal for a person who is aging to be depressed; they can have their mental health. This does not happen as a result of age, and treatment for depression is effective in the aging population. The root of depression can be from physical conditions, medications, life circumstances or psychological problems. People over the age of 65 are much more likely to be successful in a suicide completion than in younger persons so it is important to address depression. What can be done to treatdepression? Seek out help by talking with a trusted person and consult with a physician and/or other health professionals

4. Old people are unproductive and sit around all day

Negative. Many people over the age of 65 engage in life with their grandchildren, other caregiver duties, civic work, travel across the country and world. They continue socializing, maintain relationships and make new friends. Some choose to continue employment in full time or part time capacities. And from a medical perspective, unless you have a disability or condition that inhibits you from exercising, your physician will encourage increased cardiovascular and weight training in order to maintain strength in your body. How can we help the aging population stay active? First, look around to see what they are doing, and validate them in their productive and active work.

Happy debunking. Please, consider your own basic human needs, your love of learning, personal happiness and productive activity in life. Find fun ways to engage in growing in these areas, and forget your age.

Home Care Assistance’sexclusive Balanced Care Method is a whole-person wellness approach to living that helps our older adult clients live their best, at any age. Want to learn more, visit the link above, or call us at 402-261-5158.

Photo credit: Willie and Dog by Darren Burgenheier, https://www.flickr.com/photos/darronb/14245719242/in/photolist-nGR321-8M1GRM-dksCbC-oFYe-6noyFU-6cNLG8-eNoxBo-dURjsZ-8SY45B-91cmA-ajcmKB-9VzmUs-nqxRxd-N9zuH-8s2qhL-nqxc9h-7r8iU-7xDFmq-cqitU9-4EHsMx-7xzSpD-ogBRb2-o5GK-nqxL2T-q6E5-8AzMBF-5RMb4t-g9fQbD-39Ti1-dicomQ-8wEJ4i-xzwBp-7C6t8A-ft6Xjq-dEqo69-5RBzak-4kkATB-87wUo4-nEZMk5-nGJZc4-bsbeJ-nH1hJw-gJ55ty-bndbRw-9her9c-nGKijg-73pdPA-8sAm6Y-cANHqh-nqxBa5