We all – hopefully – understand and recognise the many prejudices embedded in our society. Racism and Sexism are the two most prominent of many forms of ‘othering’ that impede community cohesion. They are, let’s face it, inexcusable and just plain wrong.
While othering usually divides people into different groups, there is one ‘-ism’ that affects us all sooner or later, and that’s ageism.
Ageism is any form of discrimination based on someone’s age or perceived age. It includes condescendingly describing some young people as ‘woke’ or ‘snowflakes’. But unfortunately, older adults seem to be the worst affected. Even the word ‘seniors’ carries a sackful of mainly negative connotations.
The most peculiar thing about ageism is how embedded and largely invisible it is, to the point where people will even direct it against themselves. “I’m having a senior moment” is what some older people say when they forget something. Dementia aside, in many cases, the reason they have to work hard to remember things is that they have much more info on their ‘hard drive’ to search through than a younger person.
There are many age-related prejudices. They include being feeble and frail. Struggling with or being unable to use new technology. This simply isn’t true or true only for a minority. Ageism Awareness Day Australia, on Friday 1 October will cover these prejudices as well as other topics. This is the same day as International Day for Older Persons, established by the United Nations. If this is something that interests you or just gets you riled up, visit:
Ageism is ‘discrimination against your future self’. That is true and, at the same time, ridiculous. Let’s stop it.