Topics: Old age, Gerontology, Ageism Pages: 2 (943 words) Published: October 24, 2014

Nachel Tucker
NU 240
Breckinridge School of Nursing
Ageism is defined as a social construct that discriminates or holds stereotypical ideas about people of a certain age group. The term "ageism" was coined in 1969 by Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging. He used the word to describe the process of systematic stereotyping of people because they are old. Ageism is a term that is similar to other ‘isms' in society, such as racism and sexism. "Ageism allows other generations to see older people as different from themselves; thus they subtly cease to identify with their elders as human beings" (Butler, 1975). All people, including the young as well as the old, can be discriminated against based on age. Today ageism is more broadly defined as any prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of an age group. America is still a culture which intensely denies death. We cringe at the mere thought of death and go to enormous lengths to avoid anything that would remind us of our mortality. Americans want to be forever young and never grow old and die. There is no place in our society for old age and death. This way of thinking is passed to younger members of our society by family members and by the media with the use of negative images of the elderly. Older Americans are portrayed as senile, frail or disabled in some way. CITATION Fig03 \l 1033 (Fighting ageism, 2003) The result of these ideas is that the elderly essentially become invisible to younger generations. Without value, there is no need to show respect to your elders, and most young people avoid contact with the elderly all together. The consequences of ageism are similar to those associated with other forms of discrimination. In American society the elderly part of the population grew from 2 percent in the 1800's to over 10 percent in the 1970's" (Fischer 114). But at the same time, as old age became more common, it also came to be regarded with increasing...

References: Dickman, Irving R. Ageism-Discrimination Against Older People. Public Affairs Committee, 1979.
Falk, Gerhard. Ageism, The Aged and Ageing in America. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd., 1997.
Guralnik, David B. Ed. Webster’s New World Dictionary. New York: The World Publishing Company,1970.JusticeNow:Ageism.”Online. 1997-1999
Palmore, Erdman B. Ageism Negative and Positive. New York: [/i:93c125d798
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