Aging in America: Effects of Negative Stereotypes

By |2023-05-01T14:47:02+00:00April 30th, 2023|Aging and Geriatric Issues, Featured, Individual Counseling|

Aging in America can be an intimidating prospect. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, older adults are projected to outnumber children by the year 2034. Despite this evidence of an aging America, the elderly continue to be devalued and stigmatized. Some societies, such as Japan, respect their elderly and hold them in high esteem for their experience and wisdom. Old age is viewed as a normal stage of life and something to enjoy, as opposed to something to fear. In America, however, youth is valued over old age, and the word “old” tends to be a put-down loaded with negative undertones. The elderly are often diminished, subject to age discrimination in the workforce, disrespected, stripped of dignity by being addressed in condescending or patronizing ways, and regarded as unimportant and less worthy of care. Older adults are one of the only stigmatized groups that we all become part of some day. And that’s always struck me as interesting – that we would treat so poorly a group of people that we’re destined to become someday. – William Chopik, Assistant Professor of Psychology, MSU America is obsessed with youth. People want to look younger and will lie about their age. Media fuels this desire by glorifying youth and beauty, and is one of the main perpetrators of prejudice and bias against the aging in America. Mass media depicts old people as frail, slow, forgetful, less competent, and senile. Ads featuring older people often reinforce these stereotypical images and messages. They perpetuate negative attitudes toward the elderly and what they can and cannot do, or should or should not do, that are out of whack with reality. This leaves many individuals to fear aging in America. They fear not having enough money to meet their basic needs, becoming a burden to [...]