You, all of you, if you live, will become a member of an oppressed minority and you will be forced to live with the prejudice attached to this minority unless our society can become more educated. This prejudice will cost you in that you may be denied the best job or the best working conditions.
The main prejudices in our society are racism, sexism and ageism. Hopefully, we are making progress in the fields of racism and sexism but that does not seem to be true in the matter of ageism and ageism involves the oppressed minority that everyone will encounter sooner or later if they live.
Ageism is the discrimination against the aged and more to the point, it is the direct or indirect removal of the old from society and the workplace. It is the rejection of a person because that person has reached a certain age, often seen as the age when a worker retires. As of this time, the age of retirement is changing and is almost certain to be changed from 65 to an older age
Economically, many seniors are not financially able to quit working simply because they become of retirement age whatever that age may be, but whatever the age, your time will come.
The process workers go through when they reach a certain age or are retired is often referred to as “unpeopling.” This is a tragic process many times in which society takes a fully alive, vital, hard working, happy person and commits him to his role of an old thing. These old things are referred to as “old bitties,” “old duffers,” etc. This process is demoralizing to say the least. After this point in time, the old person is supposed to sit and rock – period.
What can be done about this?
First, to counter this thinking. the correct definition of “old people” should be known.
Old people are simply people who have lived a certain number of years.
We should treat all people alike, – ALL PEOPLE – with respect – regardless of age, the same kind of respect that we want for ourselves. Show your disapproval of things that subtly promote ageism, such as anybody over 50 just rocking away. Watch advertising.
Show your disapproval and your approval – “You aren’t getting older; you are getting better” is a step in the right direction.
Watch what you associate with growing old and try to separate what you have been led to believe from what is reality. For example, we all know unpleasant, cranky, old people so we may associate unpleasant, cranky people with being old.
The truth of the matter may be that the unpleasant, cranky, old person was an unpleasant, cranky, young person and his disposition (which has always been terrible) has nothing to do with being old. Too often these myths are taken at face value and may be believed by the old person also. These myths must be dispelled.
Become aware of the problems of aging, the real problems, not the ones promoted by Revlon or Grecian Hair Formula. There are medical problems and scams, as well as financial problems as evidenced by the statistic that shows one in four senior citizen does not enjoy sufficient nutritional food.
The bloom of youth is undeniably a wonderful thing, but like most growing things, it isn’t the blossom, it’s the fruit that comes from the blossom that should be enjoyed.
Growing old simply means that you have lived a long time. Your attitude and outlook date you. If your chronological age is 50, are you twice 25 or half of 100?
Take care of the seniors; you will be one some day if you are lucky. Help dispel myths that are detrimental.