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Ageism – Do We Really Only Have Ourselves To Blame?

Ageism – Do We Really Only Have Ourselves To Blame?

By Susan Williams

It doesn’t matter what colour you are, what religion you practice or even what sex you are, ageism is a form of discrimination that can impact anyone who happens to gets old.

According to a report on Ageism by Revera, they reported that half of Canadians say ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice.

Here are some other surprising findings from their report;

  • 63% seniors 66 years of age and older say they have been treated unfairly or differently because of their age
  • 79% Canadians agree that seniors 75 and older are seen as less important
  • 71% agree that Canadian society values younger generations more than older generations

What else was interesting is that of the individuals 66 years and older who felt they were discriminated against claimed that these were the three most common forms they found;

  • 41% being ignored or treated as though they are invisible
  • 38% being treated like they have nothing to contribute
  • 27% the assumption that they are incompetent

Yikes. No wonder no one wants to get old. 

With the possibility of being viewed and treated like this who would want to.

But before we start pointing fingers and complaining about the injustice of it all, I think we need to stop and think about where these opinions originated and why they are socially acceptable in the first place.

Think about your own earlier perceptions of aging. Back before you started getting old yourself.

How did you see older people?

Did you treat them with patience and respect? Did you value their opinions or just brush them off? Did you listen to them with the intention to really learn or were you just being polite?

There is some research that claims that discrimination is a learned behaviour. If this is the case and we personally held negative views of the elderly then chances are we passed on our own personal views down to the generations that followed.

So before we can expect others to change their views on ageism I think we really need to take a good look in the mirror first.

Maybe we are more responsible for this problem then we really want to admit.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.