Ageism, also called age discrimination, is stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age. I was deeply touched by the “Once We Were Young” age concern video that was put on as a part of the Age Concern campaign.
I think in our society, we are so caught up with the day to day life,that we don’t always stop to think about what it will be like to actually be older. I don’t think it is so much the fact that we don’t talk about ageism because we are ashamed of it, but more because we don’t realize that it exists. The film states that 1 in 5 older people live in poverty, 5 million older people live alone, and that in fifteen years over a third of the population will be over 50. It is especially sad to think of the scenarios where one older person is left completely alone. I have been fortunate enough to have very healthy active grandparents. My grandmother often gets mistaken is my mom, that’s how good she looks. But, I know from friends that others are not as fortunate. I hear them talking about grandparents losing their memories and not being able to live by themselves and I find it so upsetting. I would hope that I am not ageist. I feel that I am respectful of people no matter what their age is, and growing up close to grandparents who are older has taught me and shown me how wonderful older people can be.
In the film, “Look Us in the Eye”: The Old Women’s Project states that “old women must be treated as equals. We reject both contempt and “respect” on the basis of age, but rather celebrate the honest exchange between generations”. I find it interesting that they reject “respect’ on the basis of age. if I see an older person needing a seat somewhere I’m going to offer them mine, but I never realized that some could be offended by that respect. I suppose if they refuse to sit then that is fine too, it is their life to live.
I think this unit has allowed me to realize that being older is just another stage of life and that older people really shouldn’t be treated any differently. Whether it is discrimination against the young or the old, it should not exist either way. I really like the phrase that the Old Women’s Project used saying they want an honest exchange between generations. I think if people realized and practiced that motto then they would have more understanding about what age really means and how everyone should be able to live their lives no matter what age they are.