Pros And Cons Of Ageism

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Almost 50 years ago, Robert Butler coined the term “ageism” as a way to describe the negative and unfair treatment of older people by society. He described the phenomenon of ageism as a form of bigotry, a personal revulsion to and distaste for growing old, disease and disability. His description further included a fear of powerlessness, uselessness and death (Levy & Macdonald, 2016). For the purpose of this paper, ageism will be defined as a form of culturally based age bias that involves restrictiveness of behavior or opportunities based on age, age-based stereotyping and distorted perception in the service of maintaining such stereotypes, positive or negative (Nussbaum, Pitts, Huber, Raup-Krieger & Ohs, 2005).
Ageism is very pervasive
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Positive views of aging and older adults include characterizations of older adults as calm, cheerful, helpful, intelligent, kindly, neat and stable. They are also viewed as more reliable, engaging in less criminal activity, volunteering more, as well as having a better social status. Older adults may also receive unique benefits of being older such retail discounts, low-rent housing, pensions, and special health care.
While the emphasis on negative views of aging and older persons may be intentional to bring attention to the fact that ageism and negative views of aging are significant and warrant study and further action, the unintentional under-emphasis of the studies of positive views of aging and older persons is also problematic. This results in an insufficient understanding of the positive aspects of growing older as well as an insufficient understanding of how to improve the lives of older persons and intergenerational relations (Levy & Macdonald, 2016).
Social Separation of Ageism
Another consequence of ageism is the intentional separation or segregation of older people from younger generations socially. Both sociologists and anthropologists have long recognized age as the basis of social organization and
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