Scanning the globe for news by, for and about Senior Citizens
Older workers are missing from tech. That’s a big problem for everyone. Reskilling older workers could greatly add to the IT workforce. But skills are not the only barrier.BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
The Bottom Line
- Stereotypes, prejudices or discrimination against a person because of their age are a widespread phenomenon and pose a threat to the well-being of older adults.
- Ageism refers to a negative view of aging and the elderly.
- Older adults are at risk of internalizing negative stereotypes and prejudices, and showing ageism towards themselves and others.
Stereotypes, prejudices or discrimination against a person because of their age are common. It is estimated that 6 in 10 Canadians over the age of 66 have experienced an episode of ageism in their lifetime.(1)
Such a phenomenon is widespread in many countries and takes various forms, whether it is being sidelined in the workplace, being infantilized in healthcare settings, being invisible when talking about sexuality or opinions. A poll conducted in 57 countries found that 60% of respondents believe that older adults do not receive the respect they deserve.(2)
Negative attitudes and stereotypes are acquired at a very young age and each of us can internalize certain prejudices. Many older adults have grown up with preconceived ideas about aging and what older adults can (or supposedly can’t) do. This can affect their own well-being in addition to their perception of others. In addition, ageism can also be systemic, for example in the provision of services and programs, which are often designed for a younger population.
What can research tell us about the factors that contribute to ageism?
What research tells us
A moderate-quality systematic review examined 199 articles on the main determinants of ageism in people aged 50 and over.(2) The review revealed 14 determinants that were strongly associated with ageism. These determinants are observed at three levels: the individual level, the interpersonal / intergroup level, and the institutional / cultural level.
Determinants at the individual level
The most important determinants at this level are anxiety related to aging and fear of death. Studies have shown that certain determinants seem to help alleviate ageism, such as having specific personality traits or psychological factors, such as being conscientious, pleasant and outgoing, or having more of a community spirit than being an individualist. In addition, older adults who are in good mental and physical health seem less likely to be affected by age-related prejudices about their own abilities.
Studies show that certain determinants do not have a significant effect on ageism: whether it is age, gender, level of education, cultural or ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, religion, living in an urban or rural area, and civil status.
Determinants at the interpersonal / intergroup level
The older a person gets, the more likely they are to be the target of prejudice. Furthermore, the quality of contacts with older adults in general, but especially with grandparents, would have a beneficial effect in reducing prejudices. People tend to discriminate less against older people if they have a positive image of older adults in their lives.
Determinants at the institutional / cultural level
Studies point out that ageism can feed off periods of economic crisis and austerity. If there is a scarcity of economic resources and a significant number of older adults in a society, this can create tensions regarding the distribution of these resources (to finance different public programs and services) and thus foster stereotypes, prejudices or discrimination against older adults.
Nursing Homes Without Walls helps seniors in rural areas ‘age in place’
Over the past 12 months, Kaye Fillmore has needed a new oil tank, furnace and roof. It was a lot to navigate for the recently widowed New Brunswick woman, and more than she could afford as a senior on a fixed income.
Fillmore is thankful a provincially funded emergency home repair program covered her costs, and grateful a seniors group in the area walked her through the process.
“I wouldn’t apply because I hadn’t heard about it,” Fillmore said from her home in Bayfield, a small coastal community near the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.
She wants to stay in her home, in her community, as long as she reasonably can. As a senior who cooks and cleans for herself, tends her own garden and drives, she should be able to for the foreseeable future. But without help from Terissa Salmon, the seniors’ navigator with Nursing Homes Without Walls, Fillmore would have taken on debt she can’t afford.
There are many health benefits associated with vitamin D. It can contribute to stronger bones, help fight off respiratory infections and regulate insulin levels. However, getting a healthy, daily dose of vitamin D can be challenging.
Commonly referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is created in your skin in response to direct sunlight. During the summer months, it may be easier to get your daily dose if you are spending more time outside. However, it is dependent on factors such as time of day, cloud cover, and the presence of smog in the air. In general, food is not a great source of vitamin D. However, small amounts can be found in some foods such as oily fish, and foods fortified with vitamin D including dairy products, breakfast cereal and orange juice. Many adults will turn to supplements to ensure they are getting enough each day.