Ageism: age discrimination

A common ageism example is discrimination. The mere thought that your age can be a barrier to leading a normal adult life is quite baffling. This is a common storyline that affects millions of elderly men and women in the majority of countries worldwide. A population is put down for a reason that is associated with a matter of age.

This detrimental attitude towards old people is called old age or ageism. This is a type of subjugation that has been dragging our elders down as they face exclusion from society. It's a common problem that does not distinguish between cultures, genders, or economic strata that affects all members of a community equally once a society begins to see them as old.

Origin and evolution of ageism

Ageism in the UK is not a new thing as it has been part of our reality from time immemorial. Robert Butler, a gerontologist invented the term in the 1960s. He referred to the prejudices and stereotypes that are in existence concerning age which represents a clear case of inequality between members of the same society.

This type of discrimination however existed long before the professional sector decided to address the issue vividly and its consequences to said persons. Ageism has always been part of society sometimes in such an unspoken manner that you may not have recognized it.

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What sustains this form of discrimination against the elderly?

On further analysis, Robert Butler picked out three types of ageist attitudes that fuel ageism.

They are:

  • The Fear of death

  • The Rise of the culture of beauty and youth

  • Emphasis on productivity

The condolence of these factors brings about an attitude of rejection towards what is almost close to its demise, what does not conform to aesthetic norms, and what is not capable of contributing in terms of material value. A common way of thinking that's put in without restriction also affects human beings.

The common problem is that these psychological and social expressions end up becoming a normal attitude in the family, with personal relationships, education sector even in professional practices which increases the problem and fuels it further.

Ageism is quite rampant in these times. The most common types of ageism in today's society include:

Work discrimination

At work, the talk of age discrimination is much normalized. Working ageism is one of the many ways in which these prejudices are projected in our daily lives.

Excess of control

The elderly are put under excess control by their environment despite them being aware of their full capacities.


Old age is mostly associated to have lost total connection with the modern world. 

Architectural barriers

A lack of commitment is shown in a city that does not include the special needs of the elderly during their movements. This is in turn limits their self-sufficiency and freedom.

Low vibration

In a society that dwells on aesthetic appeal, the old people are no longer associated with being attractive.

Labour discrimination

The old are usually stigmatized from labor as the society is usually in favor of the young population group.

Main consequences of ageism

Ageism or oldism is more of a social representation that has been developed in the collective consciousness with no apparent limits. Its consequences on how it affects the elders are the most necessary issue to address with clarity.

By undermining the physical and mental capacities of the elderly, it leads to some serious after-effects on their self-esteem, health, and freedom. Losing their independence and being put in the background not only by your close allies but society as a whole can lead to depression. Depression in turn can lead to loss of confidence in the individual or even worse premature mortality. The elderly end up gaining the negative image of their old age that has been subjected to them by society in an unjustified manner.

How to reduce ageism in society is done by acknowledging the presence of the elderly, giving them space to be independent, allowing them to socialize with people in general. This will in turn help them be more confident, boost their self-esteem which in turn will boost their mortality rate.

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