Attitude Toward Elderly

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Old Age
Attitudes towards Older People

Attitudes and treatment towards elderly people can be said to vary drastically across cultures. From Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the America's, Africa and Australia, the attitudes expressed by the community towards older people are very different when compared to one another. 1. In the 1960s, Robert Butler coined the phrase ageism, which he defined as: “A process of systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old, just as racism and sexism accomplish this with skin color and gender. Old people are categorized as senile, rigid in thought and manner, old-fashioned in morality and skills . . . . Ageism allows the younger generations to see older people as different from themselves; thus they subtly cease to identify with their elders as human beings . . . “. People of older age who were once respected and admired are now being dehumanized and being categorized as “undesirables”. People looked up to them as someone who have been around the block a couple more times and therefore they held a certain level of knowledge in their life banks that society thought of as useful. Society has robbed them of those life banks now and is holding them hostage in “homes”. Instead of grandchildren getting to enjoy stories of war, love, life, and experiences from their grandparents around the dinner table they are subject to visiting them in retirement homes. Those same people who took care of the new society and gave up so much to raise them are now being “punished” for aging and al the affects that come along with it. People use to hold doors open, do lawn work, fix things, anything they could to help and show respect for their elders who were incapable of doing such for themselves. Now-a-days those people have turned their cheeks on elders and just throw them in a retirement home to make it easier on themselves. However there is a town in New York that is reviving the respect owed to all elders. 2. “The community was built on the backs of our seniors,” said Melissa Lee of the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is in charge of the program. “It’s important that now they reap the fruits of their labors and are able to age in place.”

Treating older people as if they are completely useless and incompetent is not only demoralizing them but it is also dehumanizing them. Not only are people handing over the well being of their parents/grandparents/ect. over to a caregiver, but they are not putting in effort to see who some of these care givers truly are. They bully them by: withholding medication from or overmedicating the elderly person, keeping the elderly person in unclean living quarters, not maintaining the elderly person’s physical appearance, sexual abuse, preventing the elderly person from having any or meaningful contact with his or her family, neighbors, or the public, psychological abuse which includes name-calling or a systematic plan to dehumanize the elderly person and make him or her more dependent upon the caregiver, the caregiver prompting the elderly person to answer questions and putting words in the elderly person’s mouth. 3. Before the early 1980s, there was little, if any, reference made to elder abuse in literature that did address family violence. However, as the years pass, more and more studies have been made, and research conducted on this subject. In 1990, the information of two incidence studies and their results was released, which revealed shocking statistics: anywhere between 1.6 million and 2 million Americans considered elderly were abuse victims each year. Some of this abuse occurred in the family home; some in institutions. In 2003, the Elder Justice Act was implemented. The neglect and shame put upon the elderly has reached such a peak that they are now the “undesirables” among society. Set aside and cast away from the new age society, elders have become invisible to today’s youth....
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