The Impact of Stereotypes on Self and Others There is ample evidence to suggest that negative expectations and stereotypes about the competence of older adults pervade Western culture e. For example, older adults are characterized as more forgetful and less able to learn new information e. In addition, young and old people alike believe that there is general memory decline across the latter half of the life span Lineweaver and Hertzog, ; Ryan, ; Ryan and Kwong See,
In addition to my older family members, I have had the opportunity to work with our county's senior population in varying capacities.
I have worked with them and for them. I have provided services social support, emergency to them, advocated for them, and trained and educated them. I have found this population to be engaging, helpful, wise, and quite active. Society however, has tended to overlook, undervalue, and stereotype the elderly.
The stereotype is often based on myths and assumptions. Seniors are often thought of as unproductive, alienated, and ineffectual. Parsons notes that society views the aged as an "increasing burden on society because they are unproductive, increasingly frail, and vulnerable with their decreasing ability to perform activities of daily living, and frequently poor mobility".
Reality is that the percentage of elderly working has risen substantially since The number of those that are employed full time is also increasing. Society assumes the elderly have greatly reduced physical or mental capacities that have resulted in the need to live in nursing homes.
The fact is only 5. Regardless of where seniors live, the majority are far from alienated. Those that are not working are caring for their families and volunteering in numerous capacities. I have encountered seniors who are going to other senior's homes to assist with their care.
I see seniors volunteering at schools, daycares, hospitals, libraries, and civic service organizations. Some seniors are even continuing their education by taking college classes.
Regardless of where they are working and living, or what they are doing, seniors are engaged. I think it is time to stop regarding seniors citizens in terms of what they no longer do but in terms of what they are now doing. To do otherwise, to perpetuate a negative stereotype of this population is reinforcing ageism.
Just like any form of negative stereotyping, it can have an effect on society and the individual.
Levy stated that negative stereotypes are internalized at a young age and reinforced over time. Levy found that people 50 years and older who had a more positive self-perception of aging lived 7.
We have the opportunity to contribute to longevity simply by valuing and revering our aging population in the way they should have been all along.In films, on television and even in the jokes we hear, misconceptions about aging and seniors are ever present. Some of the top myths and stereotypes of aging include: 1.
Myth: Aging Dulls Wits. While aging can create cognitive changes, older people may perform better . Stereotypes and the Elderly Essay.
Words Mar 19th, 6 Pages.
Show More. Stereotypes of getting old also involves a decline in health, physical appearance, and happiness.
In the book Health in the Later Years, there was a study done on the elderly’s perspective on aging. Most of their views were generally optimistic.
Older adults are repeatedly reminded of negative stereotypes associated with aging in a variety of settings, such as media advertising of products and services that focus on such aspects of aging as memory loss, frailty, incontinence, and loss of mobility.
And the number of people ages 85 and older will increase from million to million over the same period of time [source: Administration on Aging].
But it's not just the media that propagates negative stereotypes about the elderly. The number of Americans 60 and older is growing, but society still isn't embracing the aging population, geropsychologists say. Whether battling "old geezer" stereotypes or trying to obtain equal standing in the workplace, those who are 60 or older may all too often find themselves the victims of ageism.
And the number of people ages 85 and older will increase from million to million over the same period of time [source: Administration on Aging]. But it's not just the media that propagates negative stereotypes about the elderly.