Ageism, a termed coined in 1969 and patterned on sexism and racism, is discrimination or prejudice based on a person’s age. This prejudice is problematic because it can affect a person’s quality of life, confidence, job prospects and financial situation.
Ageism also includes the way in which older people are portrayed in the media. How the media chooses to portray older people has an impact on the public’s attitudes towards them, and can actually encourage ageism.
How to recognise ageism
If you experience any of the following, you may have experienced ageism:
- Being refused membership to a club or trade association because of age.
- Losing your job only because of your age.
- Being refused a new credit card, interest-free credit, car insurance or travel insurance because of your age.
- Being refused a referral from your doctor to a consultant because of age.
There are provisions for some these in the law. For the moment, Medicare is only available to older Americans, and the fair trade prevent unfair dismissal in some cases.
5 ways to combat ageism
Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, so take it because of your age. Here are 5 things you can do:
- Be active
This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym, or even run every morning. Taking a daily walk, and make sure you get out of the house as often as possible. There are gentle exercises you can do that won’t cause problems.
It’s not just physical exercise. Stay mentally active, follow the news, read, write, draw—live in the present, and look to the future.
- Speak up
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around just because you’re older. Participate when you’re given the opportunity instead of sitting on the sidelines.
- Be positive
If you’ve made it past 50, you’re doing well. How you approach live, and how you view your age plays a huge role in how other people will perceive you. Be positive, and revel in your experience.
- Be as independent as possible
This ties in to the previous point. If you assume your age prevents you from certain activities: you won’t do them. Do your own banking, go to the shops on your own—why not eat out in a restaurant every once in a while?
- Stay up to date with technology
Learning how to use email, social media and texting effectively is a great way to stimulate your brain as well as keep in touch with friends and family. This will also buck the stereotype that older people can’t learn how to use new technology.
Ageism and what’s next
The Republican’s health plan could severely hinder their ability to pay for day-to-day necessities. And business know younger people are cheaper, and so easier to pay, this puts a lot of older Americans in a position of financial dependence on a national government that doesn’t want to help them.
Ageism in American is systemic, and causing older Americans a lot of problems. Fighting ageism, and talking about it, is an important role.