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Stereotypes In Older Adults Essay

1635 words - 7 pages

A stereotype is defined as ‘an exaggerated and often prejudiced view of a type of person or group of people’ (Novak, Campbell, & Northcott, 2014, pg. 5). Stereotypes often develop from observations/information that tend to not be true. If they turn out to be true then they are exaggerated and distorted. Further, if someone is found who does not fit the stereotype they are considered to be an exception. Some stereotypes positively portray the elderly but most have a negative impact. This can create prejudice and discrimination towards the elderly which can negatively impact their quality of life (Novac et al., 2014).
Stereotypes affect the day to day living of the elderly, whether it is through job attainment and sustainability, access and use of healthcare, and overall personal autonomy. Due to the current aging population the government of Canada has eliminated the mandatory retirement age and is looking to raise the retirement age (Minichiello, Browne, & Kendig, 2000), from 65 to at least 70, to ensure financial stability for all in the long term (Novac et al., 2014). From the elimination of a mandatory retirement age the older workers have been subject to experience discrimination and stereotypes due to the ability to work for longer periods. Currently for every five working age people (15yrs-64yrs) there is one aged worker (65+yrs) and it is predicted that by 2050 one in less than three (estimated 2.5) will be an aged worker (Government of Canada, 2012). Positive stereotypes include a great knowledge base and the ability to perform certain tasks through experience (Greenlees, Webb, Hall, & Manley, 2007). Negative stereotypes include being frail and in poor physical shape to perform laborious tasks leading to a lack of productivity, inability to learn new protocols or learn to use technology because they are set in their ways, and they cost the company money because of either a high turn over rate or lots of missed time due health related issues (Greenless et al., 2007).
Additionally, the elderly population undergo stereotypes and discrimination with regards to their health. Overall, as a person ages their body changes significantly whether its changes in the five senses, memory, physical ability, cognitive functions, or changes in the ability to control body functions (Lovell, 2006). These are all normal aspects of aging and when there is an inability to perform activities of daily living the elder is placed in a category. When the elderly become unproductive in their daily life they become frail and unproductive people (Lovell, 2006). Further, when an elderly person takes longer to respond to questions they are deemed mentally incapable to care for them selves where in fact they are processing things differently or have poor hearing and are required to lip read. Furthermore, healthcare professionals do not give appropriate health teaching regarding their current conditions because they believe that the elderly patient does not have the...

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