You only need a mirror to create an aging change, because looking in a mirror and declaring you are the perfect age for you today is a first step in shifting attitudes on aging. Stop comparing yourself to a younger version of you. A person’s worth isn’t measured by what they used to look like or what they can “still” do. Older adults have life lessons and experiences that are far more important than abilities and appearances.
Contact us to learn more about strategies to embrace your age and programs available to businesses, organizations and social groups. Topics Include: Dismantling Ageism, Growing Old Gracefully, and Creating Communities that are Great Places to Grow Up and Grow Old.
5 Ways to Address Ageism
1. Embrace your own aging
Work on any fear you may have about aging. Stop comparing yourself to a younger version. Embrace your own aging as a normal part of your life on this earth. View your old adulthood as the stage in your life when you get to celebrate the wisdom, perspectives, and many experiences you have acquired throughout your life.
2. Check your own words and actions
Think about the messages you are sending around aging and older people. Are you using terms and expressions that perpetuate ageism? Are your actions discriminatory or prejudicial towards them for no valid reason? Are your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors toward older adults fair, realistic and appropriate? When first relating with an older person, remind yourself to switch off ageist stereotypes and let your first-hand experience with the older adult in front of you determine how you relate with that person.
3. Learn about aging, ageism, and age discrimination
It is very common for older people to face discrimination in employment, housing, health, and other key services. They may be treated as a burden on services, excluded from or denied of opportunities and access to services. Knowledge-building and raising awareness of ageism and age discrimination may mitigate, if not eradicate, their influence. The better informed you are about aging and what to expect, the better you will be able to recognize and stand-up against many inaccurate and negative stereotypes of aging. It will sensitize you to prejudice and discrimination toward older people and better equip you to distinguish normal age-related changes from ageist behaviors. It will help you spot policies and practices that may negatively affect the well-being of older adults.
4. Challenge myths, stereotypes, and misinformation
Be aware of the stereotypes, positive and negative, about older people and aging that you and others around you may be perpetuating. Erroneous beliefs about older adults and aging must be challenged. Know that labels like elderly tell us little about the older person. Be mindful of your thoughts toward older adults; they can control your attitudes and actions toward them. Your attitudes and actions can harm the older adults’ self-esteem, and even put you at risk for becoming a victim of your own negative beliefs about aging.
5. Advocate for older people
Speak up. When someone you know tells a joke that ridicules older adults or makes disrespectful comments about older people, let them know it’s not okay. Listen to older adults and use their experiences to become informed and be an effective advocate for them around topics that will improve their quality of life. Monitor what the media says about older adults and object to ageist materials. Talk openly about aging issues and ageism.