Have you experienced ageism in the medical field?
Ageism in health care can be observed in many forms, including the lack of services for older adults, age-based decision-making in health and age budget; making arrangements about the quality of older people’s lives; paternalism, and gender bias.
Ageism can be visible on granting health care resources, the particular burdens of the individual, spouse or partner, other families, and the state. It has been seen that as an institution of society, the health system preserves ageist assumptions. Thus, cultural perceptions of seniors can legitimate differential treatment, which can be continued in health care delivery.
There is growing international research on the paternalistic and ageist ways older adults are treated inside the health care systems. Seniors are consistently singled out as the most expensive demographically defined group of health care users. It’s a cliché for reporters and many health policy authorities to say that X percent of people over 65 are responsible for XX percent of the health care budget. Indeed older people do use disproportionately more care than their younger counterparts as well they should.
People deal with chronic diseases as they age, and some disorders begin in later life. The unreflective repetition of this almost irrational claim about the high use of health care by seniors (like the increased use of health care by sick people) does have something to do with ageism.
One of the fields where we can find the impacts of ageism is medicine. When health providers talk to older people, they usually use a louder, higher-pitched, and slower voice and try to use less complicated words. They think that older people are hard of hearing, and by my talking more clearly, they want to show some sympathy. But it’s rude to categorize other people based on no evidence and by default.
Another example is when kids go to health providers. When an adult goes to get checked out by a health professionalist, the doctors try to find out what’s wrong with them, but when a kid goes to get checked out, one of the things that many doctors consider first is that maybe they want to skip school or are trying to get some attention. And it is absolutely no reason for this behaviour except their age which makes this another example of ageism.
I’m now 55 years old. The occurrence I’m talking about happened when I was 43. I fractured my knee, damaging my ACL entirely and partially shredding my medial ligament. I have rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism. For decades, I’ve struggled to keep the weight off. It’s difficult to lose weight when moving hurts and your metabolism works against you. I was looking for a knee replacement to help with my mobility. When I discussed it with my doctor, guess what he said: “Oh, you don’t seem like a young athlete.” I can still remember the heartache he gave me. That’s my experience of medical ageism.
Ageism is evident in many areas, including the medical field. You might find yourself in a situation where your doctor discusses your health before you but refers to you in the third person. Eventually, they turn to you and start talking with a loud, slow voice, using more basic sentence structure. For people who bring their parents to stay in a care facility, it’s common to hear things like, “Don’t worry, they get used to being here in a few weeks,” a judgment that is based only on their age.
These are some verbal ageism examples. Unfortunately, there are situations where one’s ageist assessment may lead to unpleasant outcomes for the elderly. There have been many instances where ailments are over treated without proper examinations. A great example is when medical providers use someone’s age as the basis for their health recommendations. And doing so might result in unwanted outcomes, like excessive expenses and putting the patients through unnecessary treatments, worsening their condition.