My 81st Birthday lunch with my hubby, James, and my son, Matt, and his family, Julie and Mikayla. We were on the outdoor patio of the Indian Pueblo Kitchen in Albuquerque, NM. Earlier, we got to see the talented and lovely Native American Dancers, all girls ranging in age from 10. to mid-teens. Then we toured the beautiful Museum and finally made it to lunch at the restaurant. We were starved and hoped the food was good; we were not disappointed as the food was so fresh and tasty.
You may wonder what I mean by “Rageism”…I am enraged about the way we older women are treated once those signs of aging become apparent, once we state an age older than 40 to others, etc.
The American Society on Aging is promoting today, October 7th, as Ageism Awareness Day, so I feel compelled to write about it. I noticed it is NOT being promoted like other “Awareness” days. It’s treated like it’s fine, OK, and normal in society to denigrate, make fun of, and ignore older women (and men, but not as viciously).
I, for one, have had enough and am on a mission to create a deeper awareness of ageism and spread the word about how to recognize and deal with it. So, here are some facts. I understand this is a long and negative subject, but we must know this to combat it.
What is the definition of Ageism? What follows is taken verbatim from the ASA’s Ageism Factsheet.
Ageism refers to stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel), and discrimination (how we act) toward others or oneself based on age.
There are many forms of ageism, including:
Internalized ageism: How we feel about ourselves as aging people; and ageism in which older adults marginalize and discriminate against other older people.
Cultural ageism: The everyday, invisible, profoundly ingrained, and normalized negative messages about aging and old people embedded in movies, TV, songs, jokes, etc.
Implicit ageism: The unconscious bias that includes attitudes, feelings, and behaviors toward people of other age groups that operate without conscious awareness or intention.
Benevolent ageism: Patronizing, paternalistic beliefs or behaviors that older people need to be protected and taken care of by younger people because they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
One example is Elderspeak. This is when an older adult is addressed as if they are much younger and can’t make decisions on their own—the voice may rise to a higher pitch, and simple words are used and spoken more slowly as if speaking to a child.
Ageism is one of the most widespread and socially accepted forms of prejudice.
Ageism and Age stereotypes are often internalized at a young age— long before they are even relevant. Even by the age of 3, children are familiar with age stereotypes, which are reinforced over their lifetimes.
How Ageism Harms Us
Ageism intersects and exacerbates all the other “isms,” including racism, sexism and ableism. Multiple intersecting forms of bias compound disadvantage and worsen the effects of ageism on individuals’ health and well-being.
Ageism affects our health and longevity. Older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer than those with a less positive self-perception of aging. Also, higher optimism has been associated with a more positive self-perception of aging, which can lead to positive health consequences.
Ageism harms our financial well-being. Older workers face longer periods of unemployment, discrimination during the hiring process, and fewer professional development opportunities.
Ageism harms our economy. AARP estimated $850 billion in lost gains to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a result of involuntary retirement, underemployment, and unemployment among older workers. o Levy and colleagues (2020) estimated that in just one year, $63 billion in healthcare costs were due to ageism.
Where Ageism Shows Up
Ageism in American medicine and society is a matter of life and death, as dangerous as any incorrectly prescribed medicine or slipped scalpel. These negative stereotypes often result in less effective care, like denial of treatment options, underdiagnosis of depression, and mismanaged pain.”
Ageism in media remains pervasive. One study found that only 1.5% of characters on television in the United States were older people, and most of them had minor roles and were often portrayed for comic effect, drawing on stereotypes of physical, cognitive, and sexual ineffectiveness.
Ageism in marketing and advertising is just as bad. “Only an estimated 5% to 10% of marketing budgets are devoted to winning them [people older than 50] over. Only 5% of advertising images of people over 50 show them using technology, and even then, it’s usually a younger person teaching an older person how to use a device.”
Older influencers are wracking up big numbers on TikTok and other accounts—7.3 million followers for four gay men in their 70s, 14 million for a TikTok chef, and audiences view them as authentic and to be trusted.
Caregivers have started using social media to form peer support groups and normalize the caregiving experience using #dementia and #caregiving to build their communities.
At least 73% of people ages 50–64 use at least one social media site, and 45% of those older than age 65 do the same. However, older adult use of TikTok and Instagram still lags behind Facebook and YouTube. Only 26% of people ages 55 and older follow any virtual influencers.
Ageism in Healthcare (This one is so scary)
Older adults are not included in clinical trials and are less likely to receive preventive care.
There are 8,220 full-time practicing geriatricians in the United States, and there will be a 50% increase in demand for geriatricians between 2018 and 2030. About 30% of adults older than age 65 need a geriatrician.
The average salary for a geriatrician is $233,564, whereas anesthesiologists are paid twice that, and cardiologists and radiologists’ salaries top $500,000.
Geriatricians care for patients who require more time and resources than average Medicare beneficiaries, yet reimbursement is not correspondingly increased.
By 2025, the United States will need about 33,200 geriatricians to care for older patients, but currently, 50% of geriatricians practice full-time.
More than a third of 384 available slots for graduate fellowships in geriatrics— excluding geriatric psychiatry—went unfilled in 2019.
Less than 1% of grant funds go to causes related to age.
Now that I am thoroughly angry and somewhat depressed, I will stop with the doom and gloom. I wish it wasn’t so, but, as my elderly Mother used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Donna Dimino, Creator of Living Body Awareness Programs.
Donna shows people how to move differently, how to release pain, feel freer and experience joy in their body again, and trust in their inner knowing more and more so they can feel joy and freedom with their body again. As Donna says, “I love working with women who want to become better as they move through life, who are ready to move differently, think differently, and age differently – my greatest joy is when someone sees something else is possible for them to feel good again and recognizes their body is not trying to hurt them, it’s just trying to signal them to do something different.
I think of myself as an explorer who believes in the power of ‘not knowing’ so I can be present for the guidance of this moment. My mission is to help women know their own bodies more, what they are sensing, and their own intuitive flow, so they can trust in themselves more and more.”
Contact Donna by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website, www.livingbodyawareness.com. Her cellphone number is 347.420.287 if you prefer to call her.
You’ll be so happy you did!
One of my first, and favourites….
Some women believe that as they age,
they LOSE their looks.
Oh my friends how wrong this is.
A beautiful young woman is a happy accident of nature but a beautiful older woman?
She is a work of art.
The Japanese have a practice whereby they fill any broken objects with gold, believing that something which is
broken has earned its beauty and should be celebrated and decorated rather than discarded.
I feel this way about women.
It took a long time to find out who you really truly are.
A long time.
The acceptance that old age brings is freeing.
It brings with it peace and happiness.
Everyone knows, happiness looks good on us all.
Your body has been changing since the day you were born and will continue till the day you depart.
Ride with it, accept it, embrace it.
Be amazed by it.
Allow your face to represent your life, your stories, your joys.
The trick with ageing successfully my friend, is to pay as little attention to it as possible.
From ‘to the women’, available on Amazon via link, below.
- Donna Ashworth
If you know any women who would benefit from reading this, please forward it to them. And if you (or they) want to get my 10 Tips For Powerful Aging, click on this link, http://bit.ly/3XeX6IK
I'm asking for feedback on which topics on aging are of interest to you, so I would deeply appreciate your help with future topics; if you can spare a few minutes, schedule a Virtual Chat here, http://bit.ly/3GEKV1h
I promise you we will have tons of FUN!
Fellow Goddesses! Get clear and make a plan for aging powerfully, passionately, and purposefully. You can do it, and I'll guide you in a fun and fulfilling way without filling your journey with stuff you don’t like.
It will be designed with YOU in 3 months for only $720 (a 70% discount)! Why am I offering such a gigantic discount? I need to test the Pilot for my Transform the Way You Age Group Program, and I need your feedback. This offer is limited to only 6 women, so schedule a Discovery Session at https://tarufisher.coachesconsole.com/calendar or send an email to me at email@example.com right away.