Aging & Geriatrics
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Older Adults Turning to Pot for Common Health ProblemsStaying Social Can Boost Healthy 'Gray Matter' in Aging BrainsIs Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?Many Older Americans With Heart Failure Take 10 or More MedsShall You Dance? Study Finds Dancing Helps Seniors Avoid FallsStudy Sheds Light on Why COVID-19 Hits Elderly HardestEarly Results Show Moderna's COVID Vaccine Safe, Effective in Older PeopleLockdown Could Worsen Hearing Woes for U.S. SeniorsOlder Patients at Risk When Dentists Prescribe OpioidsFall Risk Rises Even in Alzheimer's Early StagesMiddle-Aged Americans Report More Pain Than SeniorsPoll Finds Pandemic Surge in Loneliness Among Older AdultsIsolation, Loneliness of Lockdowns Is Tough on America's SeniorsTeens, Seniors Are Often Driving the Least Safe CarsCommon Meds Tied to Faster Mental Decline in SeniorsSeniors With Depression Show Resilience in Face of PandemicAre Opioids Prescribed Too Freely as Patients Are Moved to Nursing Homes?Telehealth Skyrocketing Among Older AdultsWhy Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?Education Benefits the Brain Over a LifetimeCould Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Hasten Cancer in Seniors?Can Seniors Handle Results of Alzheimer's Risk Tests?Telemedicine Is Here: Experts Offer Tips for SeniorsAre Baby Boomers Less Sharp Than Previous Generations?Many Older Adults Can't Connect With Telehealth: StudyMany Older Americans Getting Cancer Screens They Don't Need: StudyMore Education May Slow Start of Early-Onset Alzheimer'sMany Older Americans Staying Strong in the PandemicRepeat Bone Density Tests Might Not Be Needed, Study FindsLess Smoking, Drinking Means Fewer Hip Fractures for AmericansWant to Protect Your Eyes as You Age? Stay Away From CarbsGlaucoma Checkups Fall by the Wayside During PandemicWhat Puts You at High Risk of Midlife Mental Decline?Will Your Brain Stay Sharp Into Your 90s? Certain Factors Are KeyCheck Early and Often for GlaucomaMany Older Americans Face Ageism Every Day, Survey FindsMany Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With GunsAs People Age, They Share Fewer Memories With Others: StudyU.S. Air Pollution Still at Deadly Levels, Study Finds75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your HeartMuscle Relaxants for Back Pain Are Soaring: Are They Safe?Middle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for DementiaAmid Pandemic, Fears That Older Americans Are Feeling 'Expendable'What Behaviors Will Shorten Your Life?5 Healthy Steps to Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sWant Added Years? Try VolunteeringExercise Habits Key to Gauging Seniors' LongevityGet Moving, Seniors: It's Good For Your BrainMillions of Older Americans Can't Get Enough FoodCan Fruits, Tea Help Fend Off Alzheimer's Disease?
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Many Older Americans Face Ageism Every Day, Survey Finds

HealthDay News
by By Serena McNiff
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jul 16th 2020

new article illustration

THURSDAY, July 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Age-based job demotions, forced retirements and other overt examples of age discrimination can be harmful to older adults.

But what about more subtle forms of ageism -- like jokes about "senior moments," or assuming an older person can't use technology, or the constant barrage of anti-wrinkle ads in the media?

A new poll finds that most older adults encounter at least one form of this "everyday ageism" in their day-to-day lives and that more frequent encounters may affect their health and well-being.

"We can't necessarily confirm that everyday ageism is causing health problems, but the fact that we found strong and consistent relationships suggests that there is something there," said Julie Ober Allen, who helped conduct the poll and analyze the results. She's a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, in Ann Arbor.

For the survey, pollsters asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults, aged 50 to 80, about their exposure to ageist messages, ageism in their interpersonal interactions and personally held beliefs about aging and older people.

More than eight out of 10 said they experienced one or more forms of everyday ageism. Among them: comments about their ability to hear, see or understand, and assumptions that they need help with tasks they can do on their own.

Sixty-five percent of respondents reported exposure to ageist messages in materials they watch or read that portray aging as unattractive, undesirable or worthy of ridicule.

Almost half said they encountered ageism in their daily interactions -- for example, other people's assumptions that they can't use technology or have a poor memory.

And one-third responded to the questions in ways that suggested they personally have negative beliefs about aging, according to the poll's sponsors.

"They think that being lonely is an inherent part of aging, and that depression and worry are unavoidable and just a natural part of aging when research actually shows that they're not," Allen said.

But ageism may take a toll, the poll suggests. Older adults who said they experienced three or more forms of everyday ageism had poorer physical and mental health than others: 34% rated their overall physical health excellent or very good versus 49% who reported fewer brushes with ageism. And 71% had a chronic condition (such as diabetes or heart disease) versus 60% of those who experienced fewer forms of ageism, the poll found.

"So those who are experiencing a lot more everyday ageism and age-based discrimination, their health may actually be declining faster than those who experienced less," Allen said.

But the results do not prove that everyday ageism causes health problems, only that there's a link. And Allen said that link may exist because many health conditions can be induced or aggravated by stress.

"We believe that it's the cumulative impact of these 'microaggressions' because they happen over and over again, and start to serve as a source of stress in individuals' lives," she said. "In addition to mental health problems, conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease tend to be really closely linked to chronic stress."

But the poll offered good news, too: The results suggest most older adults have a positive attitude about growing old.

Nearly nine out of 10 said they were more comfortable being themselves, and 80% said they have a strong sense of purpose.

A full two-thirds said life after age 50 is better than they expected.

And a positive attitude about aging seems to protect against health issues, previous studies have shown.

Dr. Becca Levy is a psychologist and epidemiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., who reviewed the findings.

Levy said other research has found similar evidence that negative beliefs about aging can provoke stress and be harmful to health, while positive beliefs can benefit both.

"Older individuals who've taken in more positive age beliefs tend to have a longer life span than those who've taken in more negative age beliefs," Levy said.

Allen suggested that raising awareness about the health risks of everyday ageism and the health benefits of thinking positively about aging can help shift the cultural narratives about growing old.

But according to Dr. Paul Mulhausen, chief medical director at Iowa Total Care in West Des Moines, promoting a positive outlook doesn't mean eliminating the realities of aging from the conversation.

"So much energy is spent on remaining youthful, and I think it's a distraction," said Mulhausen, who was not involved in the poll. "I think the mistake we make is we frame staying healthy as we get older as remaining young."

The poll was conducted in December, before the coronavirus pandemic introduced new health risks for older adults.

Allen said that policymakers need to put ageism on their radar, and recognize how it may be affecting their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The poll was a joint effort of the University of Michigan's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, AARP and Michigan Medicine. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 to 2 percentage points.

More information

There's more about ageism at the World Health Organization.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net