Ageism Is Increasingly Becoming an Issue

“Old age is not a status we chose to be, it’s a status we inherit with virtue of living, not dying” (Heiman). In these short words we are reminded that age is an inevitable process of life that makes us human. Historically perceived as a graceful and elegant phase, now thought about in fear. In a society that is obsessed with youth, it is no surprise that there is a silent war between baby boomers and millennials. Media has promoted youthfulness to be virtue and strength setting aside the elderly. It was about fifty years ago, the term “ageism” was coined by Robert N Butler, MD Psychiatrist, and introduced to the world as a social issue:

“There are three distinguishable yet interrelated aspects to the problem of ageism 1) Prejudicial attitudes toward the aged, toward old and toward the ageing process, including attitudes held by the elderly themselves; 2) discriminatory practices against the elderly, particularly in employment, but in other social roles as well; and 3) institutional practices and policies which, often without malice, perpetuate stereotypic beliefs about the elderly, reduce their opportunities for a satisfactory life and undermine the personal dignity”.

Butler rallied on Chicago streets engaging in political activism on behalf of the old and young. He witnessed mayhem on the streets between generations young and old, traits of a counterrevolution. Expanding upon his insights into ageism in The Gerontologist, he predicted that age bigotry would not soon fade. “Aging is the great sleeper in American life,” he declared, noting that ageism saturated programs and resources meant to serve older Americans, such as Medicare, Social Security, and public housing, disregarding older adults. “Age-ism might parallel racism as the great issue of the next 20 to 30 years,” he wrote (Butler, 1969). Ageism is a relatively new area of study with limited research, but as population of the elderly continues discrimination has become an issue within one of the most professional settings today. Health care system is becoming increasingly strained as baby boomers increase in number, demanding more time and money. As we seek to determine causes of agism, how the health care administration perpetuates this issue, and potential solutions to Ageism within the health care industry. Arguments within this paper contend elderly should receive high quality care. A poorly constructed Healthcare System is the problem not the elderly in need of service.

To effectively understand and address age inequality, we must first understand the population under review and a clear understanding of ageism in whole. As ageism is fairly new phenomenon, aspects are currently under research. However, It is safe to say Ageism is defined as, ‘Attitudes, beliefs, and conceptions of the nature and characteristics of older persons that are prejudicial to disorting their actual characteristics, abilities..”

Well negative perceptions of senior citizens are prevalent in all social cultures, ageism is increasingly becoming an issue within our health care aytem. the ratio of elderly population as a whole is rapidly growing. Since 1960 population of elderly has doubled of those under the age of 65 (Wolinsky, Mosely and Coe, 210). Provided statistics serve to reinforce a looming problem, consider that 75% of the population will be expected to reach 65, and we can expect nearly a third of total expenditures be allocated to elderly patients (Wolinsky, Mosely and Coe, 290), a fraction devoted to deviating chronic and terminal illness. Healthcare faces yet another challenge of treating a group with stable disability and increased life expectancy