Ageism is the unfair treatment or discrimination a person faces based on their age. This type of social discrimination has profound effects on the self-esteem and well-being of old people. The seniors are fast becoming the fastest increasing population, thus it is still shocking that discrimination against people of old is rive in today’s culture. It is the time that the society looks into ending the age discrimination and change the negative perception we have towards getting older. This paper will explore factors that fuel ageism, its effects on the victims and why there is a need for concerted effort to check this trend ( Gravagne, 2013) .
A number of reasons can be attributed to ageism in our culture. We place a high value on youth, vitality, and beauty and growing older is viewed as being counter to these attributes. Getting older is associated with loss of good health and this is a chief concern for many people who do not want to feel helpless. Placing distance between oneself and aging lessen the fear associated with death. Society makes fun of growing old and the younger generation has the myths and misconceptions passed on from their parents and other adults ( Cruikshank, 2003) .
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Old age is associated with helplessness and in many cases, they are treated as being less than adults. The younger generation will justify their perceptions over the elderly whether consciously or unconsciously. Based on their age, older persons will be assumed to lose their mental clarity, the ability to care for themselves and so society will continuously come to their help even where it is not necessary ( Cruikshank, 2003) . There is some resentment from the younger persons who feel that that older people have a sense of entitlement which they should not necessarily have.
According to Gravagne (2013) , adults who are discriminated due to their age will have a poorer physical and mental capacity and this will affect their behavior. Ageism in the workplace will have older being forced to retire and having their positions given to a younger person. Many older workers who had retired felt that they had been pushed out and that the employers had set them up for failure. It is difficult to prove ageism in the workplace and many employers get away with it even as the constitution considers it an offense.
The impact of ageism in a society is that the generations develop resentment and phobia towards each other. Aging is considered a blessing but where a society lays emphasis on the qualities of remaining youthful, it creates a generation that does not appreciate the experience that comes from being older. Ageism affects the self-esteem of aging individuals and they are treated like second class citizens ( Cruikshank, 2003) . They are talked down to and make to feel invisible and such treatment will quickly lead to feelings of depression and stress.
There is a lot that needs to be put in place to reverse the negative labelling of the aging people. Society needs to educated and made to understand that life does not stop when one approaches their older years, if anything, it gives them a better perspective on a variety of issues. It also fosters better relations between the younger and the older generations ( Gravagne, 2013) .
In conclusion, ageism is a dangerous form of discrimination as it affects the happiness and overall well-being of the older population ( Gravagne, 2013) . Seniors’ need to be perceived for their wisdom and knowledge and not looked down upon with negativity. Those who were exposed to positive stereotypes regarding their age were viewed to live longer and have better health compared to those who were facing intolerance in various capacities. Tolerance is preached in other issues in society and the same should be extended to the treatment of the older generation.
Cruikshank, M. (2003) Learning to be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging . Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Gravagne, P. H. (2013) The Becoming of Age: Cinematic Visions of Mind, Body, and Identity in Later Life . Jefferson, NC: McFarland.