Abstract Ageismrefers to the bias attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and feelings towards the oldergeneration (Blaine, 2018). Ageism is an epidemic divided into various issuessuch as stereotypes individuals don’t believe they hold (Schaie, 1993) andstereotypes solely in the workplace which commonly arise when older individualsreach their 25 year milestone, of their chosen profession (Dennis & Thomas, 2007).Assumptions are believed, that the older generation can not accomplish orsucceed with tasks as well as the younger generation. Palmore and Maeda (1985),state across cultures, the elderly are admired and respected due to their age(as cited in Levy & Macdonald, 2016). However, methods to overcome ageism for the older generation, is toremain positive, optimistic, self confident; keeping from falling into being avictim of ageism.
Ageism In 2019, it will be 50 years sinceMr. Robert Butler (1969), former director of the National Institute on Aging inthe United States (Levy & Macdonald,2016), introduced the term Ageism tothe world. The act of ageism was an issue, but was not defined as one, Mr.Butler, (1969) explained this through an article he wrote after an interest inprejudice towards the older generation arose. Mr. Butler (as cited in Levy& Macdonald, 2016) describes ageism as a form of prejudice that iscompletely overlooked and not viewed as a prejudice threat or worry.
Ageismcontinues to exist due to the lack of viewing ageism as an ism and failing toview ageism as a serious prejudice term like racism or sexism (Nelson, 2016).However, everyone will not experience racism or sexism in their lifetime, butwill experience some form of ageism (Blancato & Ponder, 2015). A marketingresearch had estimated that Americans who are aging will spend 114 billiondollars on numerous cosmetic surgeries and products, intended to make themappear younger to the out-group members or anyone for that matter, whodiscriminate against their age (Crary, 2011).
Ageismis on the rise more so than ever, due to 77 million individuals being membersof the baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1964 (Nelson, 2016), andnow that the youngest baby boomers are 50 and the oldest will soon be in their70’s, it is expected for the aging population to double by the year 2030(Blancato & Ponder, 2015). Ageism is an obstacle that is divided in severalways, solely reflected on stereotypes and stereotypes in the workplace orcross-cultural ageism. Ageism is a prejudice act that needs to be fought-to-end. Individuals hold stereotypes towardsageism in more ways than imagined. Many people do not realize they themselveshold a prejudice on age. A stereotype is a thought about a person or thingbefore getting to know all the facts. According to (Schaie, 1993) they believein ways to avoid ageism is for students to be taught by both older and youngerteachers, also feeling as though a class should be taught about ageism (Schaie,1993).
Educational ways, such as activities and lessons that touch upon thetopic (Schaie, 1993). Studies have shown that while students observe aparticular sport or race being done they typically assume that just because theathlete is older they are less likely to win (Pulos, 1993). Ageism happens so frequently peopleare blind to it. More times than most, ageism happens in elderly homes, whereelderly men and women are getting abused in these retirement homes because oftheir age (Eriksson, 2001). Surveys have shown that women are more likely to beabused in these homes rather than men. Women are subjected to both sexual abuseand sexual harassment. Individuals just assume because someone is old there isa less interest in predatory attacks. When in reality you are more likely toget attacked due to your age and stamina (Eriksson, 2001).
Another mode of prejudice that isdirected against the elderly and is a growing problem in the United States isageism in the workplace. The factor that highly contributes to the biases andprejudices that older workers have to face are due to technologicaladvancements within a company. There is a strict need and also a requirement bycompanies for workers to be familiar with computers and other technical tools.Digital literacy is important to most companies as it plays a role in the advancementof it.The Age Discrimination in EmploymentAct or the ADEA was signed into law in 1967, which forbids discrimination inthe workplace against anyone 40 years or older. However, recent surveys haveshown that many workers still believe there are signs of age discrimination onthe job today. The discrimination based on an individual’s age even persistseven though older workers are not necessarily less healthy, less skilfull, lesseducated or productive than younger workers (Fleck, 2014). The study has alsoshown that older women face particular challenges in employment because oftheir age sex and age.
The study also indicates thecontribution of employers in the discriminating and unjust treatment of olderemployees. Employers generally hold negative attitudes about older employeesand are compared to their younger counterparts. In the United States, there are1 in 5 workers is 55 years or older. In a survey that was taken by more than1,502 older adults, 64 percent ofworkers say they have observed or had have been discriminated on a first-handbasis. 58 percent of workers believe that discrimination based on their agebegins among workers in their 50s. It has also been disclosed from thesame survey, that people who had retired did not retire because they wanted topursue their dreams or passion.
Instead, many people whose employers claimedthat their employees had retired voluntarily were in truth pushed to retire;exposing the actuality of these situations that retirement is not as voluntaryas employers made it or make it seem. Employees have claimed that they had feltthat they had been pushed out by employers. Some employers would also give themtasks that were impractical and could not be performed, leaving the olderworkers to feel incompetent in their line of work.The older workers who have totransition from old working techniques into new working techniques have adifficult time than younger co workers who already have an understanding of howto use such devices.
Although older workers make up a great proportion of thework force there is a huge age-based digital divide that is consequentlynegative. This phenomenon is known as the grey digital divide, which was firstcoined by Peter Millward, which explains the perception, exclusion and barriersof access to the Internet for older people.Age biases affect the workplace in anegative manner and the presence of age discrimination is always in effect whenthey become influencing factors in making decisions on employment, termination,retirement, benefits and promotion opportunities (Dennis & Thomas, 2007).Older people feel marginalized and become dissatisfied and disengage themselvesfrom their workplace (Laga?e, Charmarkeh, Zaky & Firzly, 2016). Employeesthat are old feel that they are being relegated, and thus put at risk theirknowledge and expertise that are equally valuable in the workforce especiallyin activities such as the mentoring processes.
Older workers can feel uselessand unimportant in their workforce when they are constantly demeaned because oftheir lack of knowledge or skill in technology. Ageism in the workplace begins whenan employee has passed the age of 50 or has marked their 25- year milestone attheir workplace (Dennis& Thomas, 2007). They suddenly have to deal with criticism abouttheir work or are assigned work that is below their positions and sometimeseven disregarded in front of their younger coworkers.
The U.S. Equal EmploymentOpportunity Commission received 22,700 charges of age discrimination in 2010 (Kunze, Boehm & Bruch, 2011).However, it is often difficult to proveage discrimination that employers perpetrate against older workers.
Thisstatistic just explains the growing problem of our society where the people arerendered useless and incapable once they hit a certain age mark. Between Western and Asiantraditions, researchers have examined cross-cultural contrast in agingattitudes (Löckenhoff, 2014). Cross-culture is the dealing with two or moreunlike cultures and offering comparisons about them.
Cross-culturalism plays ahuge part in ageism because although it may be different in each region orarea, all cultures have similarities in respect, love, and care for theelderly. Another study of cross-cultural dilemmas would be more associated withgender, race, and age. Due to recent research, there’s been a big role foraging attitudes than shared cultural values due to socioeconomic developmentand population aging (Löckenhoff, 2014). There may be a difference in beliefsand cultures based on aging. Although, cross-cultural ageism is attitudestoward Arabs and Jews living in Israel, the expansion has went to the Asianculture, Western culture, and American culture. In American culture, cross-culturalhas increased in universities, colleges, and schools.
Over the past tenyears, researchers Clair and Adgen(1999), state there has been a rise of one million English-language learningand now they consist of a percent of 5.5 of total school-aged population ( as citedin Wasson & Jackson, 2013). In the Western and Asian culture,cross-cultural is influenced by filial piety and Confucian. Filial piety is theimportance of obedience, care, and respect for your elderly family members andyour parents (In Confucianism), whereas Confucianism is the religion oftradition, a way of governing, and an easy way of life. How both filial pietyand Confucianism ties in with cross-cultural ageism is because both sociallyaccept caring, loving, and respecting your parents and elder family members.The reason for the studies was due to education, race, gender , and age.Ageism impacts people of all ages,but people who are 60 years of age and older happen to experience ageism moreoften than any other age group (Dittmann, 2003).
There are many stereotypes about older peoplemostly created by younger generations. For example, a survey of people 60 yearsof age and older revealed that it is common for older people to bediscriminated against because it is believed that they are handicapped(Dittmann, 2003). The media is one of the main problems when it comes topromoting ageism against elderly adults; they are commonly labeled as uselessor needy when in fact they should be respected (Dittman, 2003). According topsychologist Becca Levy, it is proven that poor self-image in older people islinked to increased rates of disease as well as a shorter life spans.(Dittmann, 2003). Psychologists do believe that it ispossible to end ageism.
One way to end ageism would be for older people to bemore assertive and independent, they should not allow people to assume thatbecause they are older they are in need of assistance or incapable of carryingout certain actions (Orenstein, 2015). There are some APA groups who arehelping to support as well as train geropsychologists to overcome the crudeimpacts of ageism and ageism as a whole (Dittmann, 2003). Geropsychology is thestudy of older people and the diseases linked to age, geropsychologists promotehealth and for older people live their lives free of judgment (All PsychologyCareers, 2017). Psychologists also believe thatsurrounding older people with younger people and keeping them active withregular exercise will also help diminish ageism because it can possibly showyounger generations that older people are just about capable of the sameactivities as people younger than them (All Psychology Careers, 2017).
Ageismcan also be defeated by remaining positive, if older people are optimistic andhave great self confidence it will be hard to fall victim to the ageiststereotypes (All Psychology, 2017). Eventhough ageism victims may overcome these hurtful stereotypes and discriminatoryactions there will always be people who still hold prejudices against olderindividuals. Ageism has played a huge role insociety. It is a form of prejudice in which people are categorized and judgedbased on their age. It is definitely thought that elders are more discriminatedupon more than children are. As time goes on each generation will have somesort of different form of history to judge upon; each generation is differentand the world is always changing. Ageism will affect everyone, whether being astereotype, cross cultural, and even when it comes to getting a job (Reaney,2015).
Which is why we need to find ways to go about fighting ageism or evenmake a change to how certain things work around us. There are too many people out therewho don’t believe in ageism or don’t even know it’s a real issue (Nelson,2016). Ageism has divided the older generation from the younger generation; butsociety can’t say who’s right or wrong. Both have different ways of living andthinking; can’t put someone down based on age (Dennis & Thomas, 2007).
Holding prejudice about ageism, age discrimination, and different culturesviewing age and seniority will always be in effect. There are many differentways to go about stopping ageism but, it’s who would be willing to put in thework to stop this horrible trend? Ageism affects everyone of all ages and willcontinue to do so; Ageism is a prejudice act that needs to be put to an end.