The prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination of a group of people due to their age is called ageism. The concept might be applied narrowly and broadly depending on a topic and area. Ageism is the specific stereotyping usually against the old people, but it refers to very young people as well. Such a biased treatment of both generations might serve as a bond for mutual understanding and support (What Is Ageism?, 2014). Therefore, the objective of this paper is to discuss certain examples of ageism in the modern society and suggest what can be done to avoid such a biased perception that might hurt the feelings of some individuals.
Ageism might happen on explicit and implicit levels. In the first case, it is manifested in the area of a conscious choice and intentions where thoughts and actions are controlled. Ageism on implicit levels is about actions and thoughts that come with unconscious perceptions. There are certain facts that state that ageism might get on a cultural level and become an integral part of it, which makes people use it on sub-consciousness level (What Is Ageism?, 2014).
Health area might be regarded as the most notorious area in society because of the frequent cases of ageism, especially against older people. Thereafter, ageism in healthcare occurs in various forms, which include age biased decision-making, paternalism, absence of services for elderly patients, and other things. The vivid example of ageism took place recently in the UK, where older patients were forced to wait for a month to leave the hospital and get residential treatment. They waited around 30 days, which was explained by the lack of funds and “crisis” in the sphere of residential care. “The crisis has hit the social care” – this was a reply of the Age UK’s charity director, who confronted the issue. Thus, it has a very negative impact both from financial, psychological, and physical point of view (Prynne, 2014). Such type of behavior of the authorities is a striking example of ageism against elderly people. Old person knows that he or she requires a special treatment, which is why she or he will not leave the hospital. Moreover, elderly people would pay any money to stay and wait. They got depressed physiologically; thus, their chances for soon recovery might decrease. The authorities use this against them and make them wait for a long time in a hospital by getting more funds. Such situation can be avoided in future if the government bans such behavior of the Age UK and allocates funds to enable elderly people to leave the hospital and receive residential care faster.
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Another example of ageism that can be found in press was related to misconception that teenagers are unable to drive fast due to their age. In 2005, Jayne O'Donnell published the article called “Deadly Teen Auto Crashes Show a Pattern” that claimed that teenage driving was extremely unsafe and turned into a pattern with fatal endings. The article included information about medical researches stating that human brain is not fully developed until the person is 25 years old (O'Donnell, 2005). This is an example of ageism as the author clearly pointed out that the lethal outcome of driving has occurred, because the driver was a teenager. However, such an attitude was wrong, and such assumptions should be avoided as they might negatively influence the other teenage drivers. To avoid such situation, no one should jump into conclusions.
One more common example of ageism is the opinion that older people cannot work as good as others. Thereafter, if to google job vacancies, the majority of them would have a requirement of certain age. Not every company is ready to hire a person after certain age even if she or he seems to have a perfect health. This is a bias against elderly people as the society believes that their brain is not that fast and smart as it used to be and health problems might hinder their working process. Thus, this is a misconception, and employees must hire candidates based on skills, knowledge, and the ability to do the work.
In conclusion, it is important to mention that unfortunately ageism has become a part of certain cultures in the modern society. However, conscious people try to do their best to fight ageism in any possible ways.