With the Baby Boomer generation moving into older adulthood, ageism has become a primary concern, especially among those who serve that segment of the population. The term denotes prejudice based on a person’s age. Dealing with it involves many approachesStrategies for Tackling Ageism
One strategy is to simply ignore differences in age and treat older adults as though they were our same age. On the positive side, this shows acceptance, respect, and support. However, this may overlook their effort and courage in overcoming certain challenges, such as reduced mobility or the diminishing of senses.
A better plan would be to acknowledge the challenges an individual faces and consider them with sensitivity. It’s fine to use cultural rules to determine what conduct to use with such an individual. However, we have to recognize that such norms may change over time. For example, it was once expected for men to give up their seat to a woman on a crowded bus. Today, this might be seen as sexist. Still, pregnant women, older adults, or someone with plenty of packages or kids will be grateful for such a move.
One reality of aging is that some people may begin to falter, and the best way for caregivers, friends and family members to deal with that is with plenty of sensitivity.
Conversations, such as suggesting that someone facing physical and mental challenges give up driving as a safety precaution can be challenging yet necessary.
Many such discussions often do not include the older adults who themselves will be affected, which in itself may be viewed as a subtle type of ageism. This is likely a symptom of ‘cocooning’ which is our desire to interact mostly with someone like us. Being considerate and respectful of others outside our cocoon may be helpful in such cases.
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