In America, age is a big deal. We are a youth-obsessed culture that is always looking for the next best thing. This can be seen in the way we talk about aging.
We often use words like “elderly” or “senior citizen” to describe older adults, as if they are a different species.
This othering creates a sense of distance between us and them, which can lead to negative attitudes and stereotypes. Ageism is a form of discrimination that is based on age.
It can affect anyone, regardless of their actual age.
One of the most common examples is the way we treat older adults. We often assume that they are not as capable as younger people, and this can lead to them being overlooked or ignored.
Ageism can also affect caregiving, as older adults may be less likely to receive care if they are perceived as being a burden.
Generational labels are another example of ageism. They are often used to divide people into groups based on their age, which can create feelings of competition or hostility between different generations.
The term “successful aging” is also problematic, as it suggests that there is a right and wrong way to age.
Elderhood is a better way to talk about older age than retirement, as it acknowledges the many contributions that older adults make to society.
It also recognizes that aging is a natural process that should be celebrated, not feared.
Today my guest is Dr. Tracey Gendron. Dr. Tracey Gendron is a highly respected gerontologist and author who is dedicated to understanding and raising awareness of ageism.
She has written the book “Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End it.”
Her research focuses on the language and expression of ageism, as well as on elderhood as a stage of development.
Dr. Gendron’s personal and professional goal is to understand and disrupt the deeply embedded, normalized, and invisible ageism that exists within us all.
Learn more about Tracey:
Purchase her book “Ageism Unmasked”: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/700435/ageism-unmasked-by-tracey-gendron/