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ageism definition, types, impact

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  2. 2. Primitive categories • humans automatically categorize others in social perception. Some categorizations— race, gender, and age—are so automatic that they are termed ―primitive categories‖. • As we categorize, we often develop stereotypes about the categories. • As with race and gender, we rely on physical cues for categorizing people based on age.
  3. 3. making assumptions
  4. 4. What physical characteristics do you associate with older or elderly people? 1. 2. 3. 4. • Wrinkled skin gray or white hair flexed posture slow movement all assist rapid identification of people based on their (old) age. • The labels we give to these social categories vary but include old people, elders, seniors, senior citizens, and the elderly
  5. 5. Stereotyping based on age • This stereotyping can be so prevalent in society that it is almost invisible, but it can perpetuate negative attitudes that influence behaviors.
  6. 6. Ageism • Ageism is a process of systematic stereotyping, prejudicial attitudes and direct or indirect discrimination against people because they are old. • Ageism, a term first used by Robert Butler in 1969, is an attitude of m ind which may lead to age discrimination. • Age discrimination, on the other hand, is a set of actions with outco mes that may be measured, assessed and compared. • ageism is used to describe stereotypes and prejudices held about old er people on the grounds of their age. • Age discrimination is used to describe behaviour where older people are treated unequally (directly or indirectly) on grounds of their age.’ (Ray, Sharp and Abrams, 2006)
  7. 7. Ageism is a set of beliefs … relating to the ageing process. • Ageism generates and reinforces a fear of the ageing process, and stereotyping presumptions regarding competence and th e need for protection. • In particular, ageism legitimates the use of chronological age t o mark out classes of people who are systematically denied re sources and opportunities that others enjoy.
  8. 8. Butler (1969) proposed that ageism has three components: • a cognitive component (beliefs and stereotypes about older people) • an affective component (prejudicial attitudes towards older people) • a behavioural component (direct and indirect discriminatory practices).
  9. 9. Emotional reactions to the elderly • Pity and sympathy were the most common emotions felt about the elderly. • Old people also prompt a range of negative feelings in others, and chief among those is anxiety. – Researchers have found that anxiety is a common response to older people among the young, and the main reasons seem to be that old people remind us what may, or likely will, happen to all of us eventually. The elderly remind us that youth and beauty will fade; that illness and disability, along with the social isolation they can cause, are likely; and that death is a certainty for everyone. – Another explanation for the anxiety and threat posed by the elderly to younger people trades on the stereotypic beliefs that old people are sick and feeble and therefore more likely to catch and carry illnesses that can be caught by others.
  10. 10. • anxiety about older people predicted attitudes and behavior: Participants who reported more anxiety also attributed more negative characteristics to older people and reported less willingness to help the elderly.
  11. 11. Manifestations of Ageism in Daily Life Patronizing Language: • Two major types of negative communication have been identified by researchers: overaccommodation and baby talk. • In overaccommodation, younger individuals become overly polite, speak louder and slower, exaggerate their intonation,have a higher pitch, and talk in simple sentences with elders (Giles, Fox, Harwood, & Williams, 1994). • This is based on the stereotype that older people have hearing problems, decreasing intellect, and slower cognitive functioning (Kite & Wagner, 2002).
  12. 12. • Baby talk is a ―simplified speech register high pitch and exaggerated intonation‖ (Caporael & Culbertson, 1986). • As the term implies, people often use it to talk to babies (termed primary baby talk) but such intonation is used, also, when talking to pets, inanimate objects, and adults (termed secondary baby talk).
  13. 13. Examples of ageism in health care • Reversible causes of problems such as memory loss, incontinence, and immobility: are often overlooked because of a misconception that they are an unavoidable part of aging. • An interim report in 2002, identified the following areas of explicit negative discrimination in policy in secondary care. – Resuscitation , Hospital admission policies , Access to day surgery , Gastroenterology screening , Osteoporosis screen ing ,Adverse clinical incident reporting ,Transplant policy , P rescribing , Colorectal cancer screening ,Anaesthesia guidel ines , Breast screening ,Cervical cancer screening ,Coronar y heart disease clinical guidelines , Immediate stroke care (Department of Health, 2002, Policy document)
  14. 14. Impact of ageism • Ageism promotes the idea that older people are a burden and this can lead to neglect and social exclusion. • It can also reduce older people’s self-esteem, reduce their participation in society and restrict the types and quality of services available to them. • Research by Sargeant (1999) reported that victims of ageist prejudices experience being discounted, ignored, treated with disdain and denied the opportunity to be recognised as individuals with civic rights and responsibilities. • Older adults in the United States tend to be marginalized, institutionalized, and stripped of responsibility, power, and, ultimately, their dignity (Nelson, 2002a).
  15. 15. Co-occurrence of Ageism and Abuse: • The negative attitudes that lead to ageist behavior also make it easier for the perceiver to regard the welfare and humanity of older adults as less important than that of younger adults. • As such, ageism may indeed be a contributing factor that leads some younger adults to neglect, exploit, or otherwise abuse older adults.
  16. 16. Why Ageism Occurs? Many theories have been proposed as to why ageism occurs at individual, societal and organisational levels: • According to Butler (1969) and Lewis (1987), ageism allows the younger generation to see older people as different from themselves and thereby reduce their own fear and dread of ageing.
  17. 17. • A second factor contributing to ageism is the emphasis on youth culture in western society (Traxler, 1980). The media places an emphasis on youth, physical beauty and sexuality, while older adults are primarily ignored or portrayed negatively (Martel, 1968; Northcott, 1975). – For example, a cornerstone of the birthday greeting card industry is the message that it is unfortunate that one is another year older. While couched in jokes and humor, society is clearly saying one thing: getting old is bad. A recent survey found that approximately 90 million Americans each year purchase products or undergo procedures that hide physical signs of aging (National Consumer’s League, 2004).
  18. 18. • Thirdly, the emphasis in western culture on productivity contributes to ageism, where productivity is narrowly defined in terms of economic potential (Traxler, 1980). – The industrial revolution demanded great mobility in families—to go where the jobs were. In light of this new pressure to be mobile, the extended family structure (with grandparents in the household) was less adaptive. Older people were not as mobile as younger people. These jobs tended to be oriented toward long, difficult, manual labor, and the jobs were thus more suited to younger, stronger workers – great advances in medicine, extending life expectancy significantly. Society was not prepared to deal with this new large population of older adults. Society began to associate old age with negative qualities, and older adults were regarded as non-contributing burdens on society
  19. 19. Levels of ageism • Personal ageism: is defined as ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of individuals that are biased against persons or groups based on their older age. Examples include exclusion or ignoring older persons based on stereotypic assumptions, and stereotypes about older persons and old age.(gerontophobia, gerontophilia) • Institutional ageism: is defined as missions, rules and practices that discriminate against individuals and/or groups because of their older age. Examples include mandatory retirement, and devaluing of older persons in cost-benefit analysis .(gerontocracy) • Intentional ageism: is defined as ideas, attitudes, rules, or practices that are carried out with the knowledge that they are biased against persons or groups based on their older age. Examples include marketing and media that use stereotypes of older workers; targeting older workers in financial scams; and denial of job training based on age.
  20. 20. Types of ageism Unintentional ageism: is defined as ideas, attitudes, rules, or practices that are carried out without the perpetrator’s awareness that they are biased against persons or groups based on their older age. This type of ageism is also known as inadvertent ageism . Examples include absence of procedures to assist old and vulnerable persons, lack of builtenvironment considerations (ramps, elevators, handrails), and language used in the media.
  21. 21. • Positive ageism: For example, Palmore ( 1990 ) de fined ageism as “any prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of an age group” (p. 4). As examples of positive ageism, older persons might be seen as wiser, more capable of grasping the big picture as opposed to details of a specific problem or situation, and happier than younger persons. • negative/overtly harmful – direct discrimination. Assumptions based on positive or negative ageism may lead to responses that are biased
  22. 22. The way forward Discrimination in old age must be made visible and tackled at every level: Social ageism: • As individuals we must challenge ageist attitudes and behavior wherever they occur. • Discrimination in old age should be prohibited in national legislation and existing discriminatory laws revised. • Universal prohibition of discrimination in old age in a human rights instrument would provide a definitive, universal position that age discrimination is morally and legally unacceptable.
  23. 23. • • • • • Health care ageism: Health education about normal ageing Improve access to care Improve quality of care Clinical trials for the aged.
  24. 24. THANK YOU