Stereotypes and the Elderly

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In American society, it seems that we treasure youth and either fear or are disappointed to reach old age. Our culture has a big influence on how the elderly are perceived has stereotyped this population, mostly seen through the media. Even in films, TV, books, and magazines old people are often portrayed as frail, weak, klutzy, or indecisive. We should look treat our elderly with respect for the fact that they are more associated with experience, knowledge, and wisdom than a younger population. Ageism describes this discrimination against the old due to misconceptions and ignorance.

Every person has their own perceptions of seniors and growing old. As an individual grows up, those perceptions are influenced by family, friends, and any interactions with the elderly. But as this individual gets older, they become more influenced by the media and what other people are telling us. I believe that in my generation, we are becoming more naive about our elders and I see and hear about it all the time. One that I get a lot is their driving capabilities. People say all the time that old people can’t drive when, in fact, I see younger people getting in accidents more than our seniors. They have been driving much longer than we have and maybe have more experienced skills in driving.

Another view of the elderly is that old people are all the same. It’s very unfortunate that there seems to be no individualism and that they are portrayed as one entity. Not everyone ages exactly the same. There are people in our society that view old people basically as helpless children or victims, when this is mostly never the case. I have two grandparents that just turned 80 years old and they are still working jobs. While they think of retiring soon, they like having a job because it gives them something to do. They are still independent and in pretty good health for their age. Obviously we lose mobility as we age, but most our health as seniors is depicted on how we treat our bodies...
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