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Summary

As people enter old age, they face challenges. Ageism, which involves stereotyping and discrimination against the elderly, leads to misconceptions about their abilities. Although elderly poverty has been improving for decades, many older people may be detrimentally affected by the 2008 recession. Some elderly people grow physically frail and, therefore, dependent on caregivers, which increases their risk of elder abuse.

Short answer

Make a list of all the biases, generalizations, and stereotypes about elderly people that you have seen or heard. Include everything, no matter how small or seemingly trivial. Try to rate the items on your list. Which statements can be considered myths? Which frequently turn into discrimination?

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Have you known any person who experienced prejudice or discrimination based on age? Think of someone who has been denied an experience or opportunity simply for being too old. Write the story as a case study.

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Think of an older person you know well, perhaps a grandparent, other relative, or neighbor. How does this person defy certain stereotypes of aging?

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Older people suffer discrimination, and often, so do teenagers. Compare the discrimination of the elderly to that of teenagers. What do the groups share in common and how are they different?

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Further research

Veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during various conflicts represent cohorts. Veterans share certain aspects of life in common. To find information on veteran populations and how they are aging, study the information on the web site of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: (External Link)

Learn more about the Honor Flight Network, the organization offering trips to national war memorials in Washington, DC, at no cost to the veterans: (External Link)

References

Acierno, R., Melba A. Hernandez, Ananda B. Amstadter, Heidi S. Resnick, Kenneth Steve, Wendy Muzzy, and Dean G. Kilpatrick. 2010. “Prevalence and Correlates of Emotional, Physical, Sexual, Financial Abuse and Potential Neglect in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 100:292–7.

Administration on Aging. 2009. “Data Sources on the Impact of the 2008 Financial Crisis on the Economic Well-being of Older Americans Aging Forum Report Issue #1.” Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Brownell, Patricia. 2010. “Social Issues and Social Policy Response to Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults.” Pp. 1–16 in Aging, Ageism and Abuse: Moving from Awareness to Action , edited by G. Gutman and C. Spencer. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier.

Glantz, Aaron. 2010. “Suicide Rates Soar among WWII Vets, Records Show.” The Bay Citizen , November 11. Retrieved February 27, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Honor Flight Network. 2011. Retrieved September 22, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Kohn, Robert, and Wendy Verhoek-Oftedahl. 2011. “Caregiving and Elder Abuse.” Medicine&Health Rhode Island 94(2):47–49.

National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. 2011. “VA Benefits and Health Care Utilization.” November 9. Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

National Center of Elder Abuse. 2011. “Major Types of Elder Abuse.” Retrieved January 21, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Stuart, Spencer. 2008. “Leading CEOs: A Statistical Snapshot of S&P 500 Leaders.” Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Urban Institute and Kaiser Commission. 2010. “Poverty Rate by Age.” Retrieved January 21, 2012 ( (External Link)&cat=1" ).

U.S. Census Bureau. 2009. “Webinar on 2008 Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Estimates from the Current Population Survey.” Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. 2010. “Veteran Population Projections FY 2000 to FY2036.” December. Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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