Todd Nelson On The Effects Of Ageism On Older Adults

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Within this article, the author, Todd Nelson, describes the effects of ageism on older adults. Ageism is a term coined by Robert Butler in 1969, and it describes the type of prejudice experienced by senior citizens. Specifically, Nelson discusses three areas; the Influence of Ageism on Cognition, Age Stereotypes and Physical Health, and Age Stereotypes and Longevity. Nelson examined the effects of ageism on cognition through three perspectives. First, he found that when older adults were primed with negative age stereotypes, they performed poorly on memory tests. Similar results were found when middle-aged adults were primed with similar stereotypes. Nelson also discussed cultural differences. The author described a study that examined the differences in memory performance between Chinese and American older adults. The study found that older Chinese adults outperformed American adults, which could be an indication that the differences in memory can be attributed to sociocultural and not biological causes. This could indicate that the negative stereotypes often present in American cultural creates a type of “self-fulfilling” prophecy. Additional, Nelson discussed how having a…show more content…
First, he suggests that society should be educated regarding the myths of aging. Adopting more positive perceptions of aging and retirement can have a significant, positive impact on the mental and physical health of older individuals. Second, he recommends that positive family relationships be established and maintained. Many programs that bring old and young people together have been shown to decrease ageist attitudes. Finally, Nelson recommends addressing ageism among health care professionals. He suggests encouraging more mental health professionals and doctors to specialize in gerontology and geriatrics, and implementing student loan forgiveness programs for individuals who choose these

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