Are there any ways to fight ageism in society?
The most powerful tool for any society to fight fundamental and unjust problems is the law. Whenever laws begin to protect people from ageism, social standards will improve, and toxic age-biased behaviour will decline, at least to a degree, a very considerable degree. But this shouldn’t mean that we, as a society, need to leave everything to the policymakers and act based on their judgment. We cannot expect our lawmakers to take care of everything if we don’t begin the change among ourselves, from each individual.
So, here is the central question, what can we citizens do to protect ourselves from ageism?
The short answer and the first step are to continually educate ourselves. We need to learn more about the differences between age groups, the stereotypes they are expected and made to act upon, and the difficulties each generation suffers because of its age. Only then can we be more empathetic and understand everyone better and fairly.
Another thing to do, if you’re in the position to do so, is to coordinate interventions and social activities fit for all ages to bring all the generations together. These activities are an excellent way to understand the value of maintaining a good relationship with the elderly. Some examples are activities in which teens and children present and introduce technology-related programs to seniors to help them live better. Seniors hold events to show the young people their lifelong experience and a chance to use their mentorship and wisdom.
Even if it isn’t always obvious, ageism is alive in many forms. While it’s true that the chances of becoming a victim of ageism are higher if you’re above 60, it doesn’t have to be the case. Don’t victimize yourself, for you can overcome ageism if you try.
Before worrying about how other people treat you, make sure you have a positive mindset towards your age. You should be capable of looking in the mirror and confidently telling yourself, “You’re the perfect age for you today.”
Ageing isn’t just living longer than others. It’s about all the insight and experience you gain throughout the years. Make sure you acknowledge what you know and take advantage of it.
Another step is to rely on yourself as much as possible. My grandma is in her 70s, and she still does her own shopping and housework and refuses our help in most cases.
Working out is also a great way to improve your physical and mental health. A healthy body stops younger people from thinking you can’t keep up with them.
Overcoming ageism can be much easier if you keep yourself up-to-date. Try to understand new technology as long as it doesn’t confuse you too much. Use social media to communicate with people you know, and show them that you’re not living in the past.
You need to not let people push you around because of your age. If you’re in a family gathering, try to join in on the conversation and actively participate in what they do.
Being around younger people can help as well. It gives you that motivating energy to push yourself further and further. Back in the day, I had a classmate in a programming course I took who was in her 60s. She was more motivated than most of my other colleagues.
First of all, we have to know and accept the fact that ageism is deeply rooted in people’s minds. Misleading information such as “older people are weak, fragile or not attractive” is given to people’s minds every day subconsciously via social media and television. Believe it or not, we are fed by these false beliefs through what we watch, read or listen to.
Fighting ageism needs so much time, effort, and facilities that must be provided by governments and executive establishments. So what should we do as individual parts of society to fight ageism?
If you’re under 40 or 30:
Start with yourself!
First of all, raise your awareness by reading valuable and reliable sources about ageism and its destructive effect on people’s life.
Communication is one of the best ways to interact with different opinions and share good information through helpful discussions. In the second step, watch and analyze your behavior and attitude toward seniors.
Stop calling any people in their 50s and up “old”!
Most people don’t pay enough attention to the language they use daily. Our words and language have an effect! Believe me, they have! By calling someone “old,” you send this message to your mind that they have lack some abilities and it starts to show in your behavior toward them over time.
Repeat these sentences 10 times a day!
People in their 50s and up are mature, more experienced, and have more wisdom than the youth. They’re not weak or disabled to manage their life.
If you’re over 50:
You have to be positive and open about your age. Aging is a process of life; it’s beautiful and full of wonders, so you don’t have to be ashamed of it. Try to be independent as much as you can. Do your own chores and daily activities.
Feel alive! Communicate with your beloved ones, join a gym, travel to new places and look for new experiences and show the world you’re as respectful and valuable as you are.
There is no reason to be a subject of ageism as you get older. You can overcome age discrimination with some effort. I think we shouldn’t let ourselves be pushed around because we’re just older!
We must engage in the world instead of standing over there, starring at what youngers are doing. Live the moment while planning for the future. Show your children and grand kids that you are aware of technological changes. If you feel comfortable, use email and social media to show them that you can use technology the same way they do.
By the way, don’t forget your privilege: we’re filled with experience and wisdom coming with age. Put it to good use and stay positive. Don’t escape young people; instead, surround yourself with people younger than you, like taking a class with younger people at the gym or community college to combat ageism. That enthusiasm comes from being with more youthful people motivating you to push yourself. In my opinion, exercising can be an excellent way to stay young and fight ageism; try taking Yoga or Pilates classes.