Ageism and Your Health

During a study on ageism, a group of psychologists from four American universities decided to look for age stereotypes in social networks.

The researchers were interested in Facebook sites about older people but not by older people. They found 84 which were created and managed by people mostly in their 20s.

Three-quarters of the individual posts criticized older individuals. Some thought older folks should do the right thing and just disappear. Lead researcher Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale, had readied herself for some vitriol on these sites but “never expected it to be so bad.”

Levy studied data collected in the mid - ’70s from the town of Oxford, Ohio. Residents over age 50 were asked yes-or-no questions about their thoughts on aging. For example: “As you get older, you are less useful” or “As I get older, things are better than/worse than/or the same as I thought they would be.”

This, and other studies showed that those who had bought into negative stereotypes of aging suffered twice as many heart events, from mini strokes to congestive heart failure, as those who had absorbed more positive stereotypes.

Levy concluded that young healthy people who hold ageist attitudes may put themselves at risk of heart disease up to 40 years later. She also found that the risk was likely extended to other health issues from hearing loss to alzheimers when those negative stereotypes persist into later life.

Another take on Ageism


Here’s a feisty stance from Arlene Adamson, CEO of Silvera for seniors. It was a piece about shortage of seniors’ housing in Alberta and a Maclean's article which asked - "Why are we doing so much to try to help seniors when they're already the wealthiest generation in history?"

Adamson writes......... “All seniors are not wealthy and we need to be careful assuming they are. Those who are have likely earned it the hard way. There was the depression. There were wars. People landed on our shores without a nickel in their pocket. Recessions weren't invented in 2008; seniors suffered through many busts in their lifetime. Seniors did not sit in coffee shops lamenting their lot. They worked any job they could get, did not travel, did not eat out, did not expect their first house to have en-suites and walk-in closets, and yes, they re-used string and foil, fixed things when they broke, and walked miles to school in winter.

Life was tough. For those seniors who have achieved a measure of wealth, they should not now have to quietly exit, stage left. And they should not have to pay again for what they have already banked in contributions through taxes or to services. That's the deal they made with society when they worked for their retirement.

More to the point, most seniors do not live the high life, and in any case, whether or not they have any assets is a lot of noise compared to the real issue, which is the availability of quality care, facilities and service.”...Ouch!

If you are interested in the full articles here are the links..............

'Yes, Ageism is Bad for Your Health' by Bruce Grierson

Don't Believe Media Hype - Seniors Are Not The Wealthy Generation by Arlene Adamson