Older Adults

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According to the American Psychology Association, older adults are defined as “persons 65 years of age or older (APA, Practitioners, 2002) The older adult population is separated by two subpopulations called “young old”, “older old”, and “oldest old.”(APA, Practitioners, 2002) “Young old” describe those between the ages of 65-74, “older old” describes those between the ages of 75 and 84, and oldest old refers to those 85 and older. (APA, Practitioners, 2002) Other important subpopulations include the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) older adults and racially diverse subpopulations. (Aging and Health Report) The ageing LGBT subpopulation is an overlooked part of the older adult population that is rarely addressed (Aging and Health Report.) They have the highest number of health issues as well as the most discrimination of the older adult population. (Aging and Health Report)According to a report done by the National Institute on Aging, “Nearly one half have a disability and nearly one-third report depression” (Aging and Health Report.) Another subpopulation of older adults that is significant is the racially discriminated older adults. (Liat, 2011) In an article published in Aging and Mental Health, both black and Latino older adults reported a higher percentage of everyday discrimination than white older adults (Liat, 2011)

When working with the older adult population, there are terms that need to be avoided in using to describe the population. (APA Manual, 2001) The American Psychological Association (1) states in Section 2.17 Age, “Elderly is not acceptable as a noun and is considered pejorative by some as an adjective. Older person is preferred. Age groups may also be described with adjectives: gerontologists may prefer to use combination terms for older age groups (young-old, old-old, very old, and oldest old), which should be used only as adjectives. Dementia is preferred to senility; senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type is an accepted term.” (APA Manual, 2001) Another thing to consider when working with the older adult population is the difference in values and beliefs that someone of our generation, Generation Y, might have compared to the Silent generation and the Baby Boomers generation; which older adults fall into (PewResearch, 2010) In a very thorough study done by Pew Research, work ethic, moral values and respect for others are important values held by older adults that the current generations do not find important. (PewResearch, 2010) In addition, there is a steady decline in strong religious beliefs from the Silent generation to the current generation. (PewResearch, 2010) B)

The older adult population experienced a lot in their lifetime. Many of the laws and acts that are in place today were not around when they were growing up. In addition, discrimination was something that was not regulated and that the older adult population just had to deal with. The older adult population had to endure the full brute force of discrimination before the federal government stepped in and did anything. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was a major turning point for discrimination of older adults in the workplace; affecting anyone in the workplace between the ages of forty and seventy. (USGov, 2012) The act was implemented by Congress based off their finding that were summarized into four points; which stated: “(1) in the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs; (2) the setting of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance has become a common practice, and certain otherwise desirable practices may work to the disadvantage of older persons; (3) the incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment with resultant deterioration of skill, morale, and employer acceptability is, relative to the younger ages, high...
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