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The Perception Of Age And Aging In The United States

2310 words - 9 pages

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word elderly means “rather old; being past middle age; characteristics of later life.” When an individual is categorized as being old, they feel insulted and may immediately become defensive, this is due to the fact that society has played a major role in the way we interpret the word “elderly”. Some individuals use the known phrase “You are as old as you feel”, as they are quite comfortable with themselves and nothing anyone says would sway the way they feel. The truth is, every day after a person’s birth, they are older, and so saying that someone is old should not be taken in the wrong perspective, but seen as a blessing of long life.
As individuals we are all guilty of planning for our retirement, yet some of us look at individuals who are in retirement in a negative way. In this essay, I would strive to look at factors which may have triggered negative perceptions and discernment and how it ties in to the term ageism and the effects it has on elders. The essay would also explore the theories modernization and egalitarian and will also look at ways in which the society can change their perception of the elderly.
Growing up as a child, I distinctly remember that the elderly individuals in your area or in any area were treated with utmost respect. They were held in high esteem, and their views and advice were cherished. The elderly were individuals that you would go to when you were not feeling well, or when you needed someone to look after your kids. You would never dare pass them in the street and not say “good morning, good evening or good night.” If a person passing time on the road was using explicit language, they would instantaneously stop and express regret for their behaviour. In today’s society the youth of the nation have no regard whatsoever for the elderly, they pass them straight without giving a salutation, or they would continue to carry themselves in a disrespectful manner and in some cases they would use obscene language if they did not share the same sentiments regarding any matter that an elder was referring to.
It has even reached the stage where the elderly in our society are robbed, beaten, murdered, verbally and mentally abused and in some cases raped. Making reference to my family in particular, we were taught that in every function that we are having, all the older heads (as they are referred to) of the family had to be there. My mother always told us to give roses when it could be smelt, not when they are unable to. Every year since my grandmother turned seventy (70) a birthday party has been kept for her, and every year she looks forward to it. According to Joseph Addison, “He who would pass his declining years with honour and comfort, should, when young consider that he may one day become old, and remember when he is old, that he has once been young.” The younger generation of today, carry themselves as though they would never be considered the...

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