- Ageism is a form of discrimination that casts judgment on the lifestyles, personalities and abilities of individuals strictly based on accepted stereotypes about their age. It is most often seen against senior citizens, but it can often be seen on the young as well. It is a method of formulating stereotypes of the lives of individual and then using these stereotypes to develop a prejudice. This negatively effects groups like senior citizens by making them feel as if they are seen as nothing but noncontributing members of a community, despite a lifetime of being an asset to society.
- In many countries, companies more or less openly refuse to hire people above a certain age despite the increasing lifespan and average age of the population. The reasons for this range from vague feelings younger people are more "dynamic" and create a positive image for the company, to more concrete concerns about regulations granting older employees higher salaries or other benefits without these expenses being fully justified by an older employees' greater experience.
More than 50% of companies do not employ anyone aged over 65, a survey from Origen reveals. The independent financial advice firm said the statistic increased to 80% in IT telecoms and media - proved age discrimination legislation had not had an impact on the working practices of many firms.
- Ageism functions to strip individuals of their rights or worth solely based on their age. This is unfair to senior citizens because it trivializes their wisdom and experience that they have gained over the course of a lifetime. This is also unfair to teenagers and children because it assumes that their opinions and ideas do not hold any value simply because they have not been alive long enough to gain the experiences that would properly educate their beliefs.
Ageism is not just prevalent among older people and their families, but among health professionals too. The following anecdote illustrates this: A 102-year-old man went to see his doctor for pain in his left knee. His doctor remarked, "What do you expect? You are already 102!"The man replied, "Well, my right knee is 102 years old too, and it doesn't hurt."
Why should ageism be avoided?
- Older people should not be denied treatment on the basis of age alone. Their ability to recover from illness should not be underestimated. After all they are survivors. It is indeed remarkable how many physical, emotional and social crises they must have survived to reach their present age. In these more enlightened times; there is no reason why they should not survive their remaining years with less pain and discomfort.
“It has been shown that an older person's ability to learn new things is comparable to that of a younger person. Hence there is no such thing as senile dementia.”Origen client services director Warren Page said: "Apart from defined contribution pensions and group personal pensions, most other employee benefits will increase in cost if there is an ageing workforce and these costs will be met by the employer.
Solutions and improvements
-Prevention is the best option to battling ageism. Those who are made aware of the dangers of ageist outlooks are less likely to exhibit ageist views that can cause discrimination in the workplace and the rest of society. By encouraging others to practice acceptance and tolerance of other people and cultures, things like discrimination and hate become easier to fight.
- The portrayal of older characters in television commercials has over time become more varied and positive. This study examines how different portrayals of older characters relate to self-stereotyping, a process through which older individuals apply their beliefs about older people in general to themselves and behave accordingly. The study thereby seeks to connect, as few have previously done, cultural studies and critiques of media portrayals with psychological studies of the effects of self-stereotyping.
From October 2006, legislation prohibited age discrimination in employment. Origen found the retail sector was embracing the older workforce, with almost 20% of firms actively recruiting the over 65s.
The Office for National Statistics has indicated there is likely to be an increase of around 33% in the number of over- 65s in the workforce by 2020, which will have consequences for benefit requirements.
Conclusion-ageism is prevalent among any age group of people as long as there is lack of understanding. Hence like other discrimination of races and religions, as long as there is sufficient communication between different age groups, ageism may be prevented and workforce can be enhance to its maximum capacity, contributing greatly to the economy. However, it all boils down to how each individual think and act as many individuals come together to form family and community, and all of these form the society.