The essential concept from this module is the idea that the way we view age and aging is flawed, and we should reconsider what a person in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s can do. The concept of old age and the idea of what an old person looks like or performs everyday activities is flawed, for example, in the video “Millennials Show Us What ‘Old’ Looks Like | Disrupt Aging,” the young people state that old age is approximately 40s or 50s (AARP, 2016). However, when asked to show how an older adult would cross the street, they mimic the behavior of someone in their late 80s or 90s since they show people who walk very slowly or need help when walking. Similarly, Breytspraak and Badura (2015) show a plethora of misconceptions, such as the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, depression, and other conditions among this population. Also, Nelson (2015) correctly assesses that ageism creates a prejudice towards the future self, not allowing people to fully enjoy them growing older.
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One issue that caught my attention and that is missing from the discussion is how we teach children about old age and ageism. Evidently, the misconceptions pointed out by Nelson (2015) and Breytspraak and Badura (2015) and in the presentation “Types of Prejudice: Ageism” are the issues that already exist as part of the socially acceptable opinion. Even the prejudice disclosed over the course of the pandemic that Monahan and Macdonald (2020) are all the result of how we teach children to view growing old and to ensure that they understand that it is not something negative. Hence for me, this module has been valuable in understanding that the conversation about aging should begin with teaching younger generations that growing old is normal t change this social misconception.
AARP. (2016). Millennials show us what ‘old’ looks like | Disrupt aging [Video]. YouTube.
Breytspraak, L. & Badura, L. (2015). Facts on ageing quiz. UMKC.
Monahan, C. & Macdonald, J. (2020). COVID-19 and ageism: How positive and negative responses impact older adults and society. American Psychologist, 75(7), , 887– 896.
Nelson, T. D. (2005). Ageism: Prejudice against our feared future self. Journal of Social Issues, 61(2), 207-221.
Types of prejudice: Ageism. (n.d.). [Power Point Presentation]
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