Ageism: the Aged and the Elderly

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Ageism: The Aged and the Elderly

Senile, decrepit, wrinkles—are words that might pop into some people's heads when they think about the aged and elderly. Ageism is defined as a social construct that discriminates or holds stereotypical ideas about people of a certain age group (Blythway, 1995). While ageism can affect anyone, this paper will focus mainly on the discrimination of the aged and the elderly. Most people want to live long lives, consequently growing older as a result. The only alternative is to die young. Cultures such as that of Japan respect and honor their elders, yet our culture is obsessed with searching for everlasting youth, enduring Botox injections, face-lifts, and other forms of plastic surgery. Why does our culture go to such extents to avoid aging gracefully? This paper will identify the age at which one is considered an older person, describe ageism in the workplace and what has been done to prevent it, and reveal the proposed ideas to combat ageism. At what age are people considered old or elderly? There is no set age at which one is perceived as an older adult; however, those 65 and older have come to connote older adulthood. "This may be associated with the Social Security System in our country that designated 65 as the age at which one would become eligible to their pension upon retirement" (Erber, 2005, p.12). Due to advanced medical care and the high birth rate of the baby boom years, there has been an increase in the number of Americans who are 65 and older. In 2000 the number increased to 35 million and it is expected to reach 70 million in the year 2030 (Erber, 2005). Will Social Security last with the large number of older people living in this country? If Social Security were no longer available, the aged would have to find new jobs and work longer. Is finding a new job or maintaining a job easy for the aged population? Years ago there was a mandatory retirement for workers who were 65 and older. Employers...
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