What’s the negative impact of ageism on society?
Many organizations and areas of society, including those providing health and social care, the workplace, the media, and the judicial system, are plagued with ageism.
Nowadays, age-dependent healthcare rationing is prevalent. The age determined who received specific medical procedures or treatments in 85 percent of 149 pieces of research, according to a systematic analysis published in 2020.
In the workplace, people are frequently disadvantaged, and access to specialized training and education decreases as they get older. Younger people’s voices are often ignored or dismissed due to ageism in multiple areas, mainly work, health, housing, and politics.
“Age discrimination against younger and older individuals is widespread, unacknowledged, and unquestioned, with far-reaching impacts on our economy and society,” said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano. She is the assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “We can stop it if we work together. Join the fight against ageism by becoming a member of the movement.”
Ageism has significant and far-reaching effects on people’s health and happiness. It’s linked to poor physical and mental health, more robust social isolation and loneliness, higher financial insecurity, lower quality of life, and early death among seniors.
Ageism is estimated to be responsible for 6.3 million cases of depression worldwide. It worsens bias and prejudice, such as sexism, racism, and disability, and is detrimental to wellness. “The epidemic has exposed the vulnerability of older people, particularly those who are most disadvantaged, who commonly endure overlapping discrimination and limitations. It doesn’t matter whether they are impoverished, have disabilities, are women living alone, or belong to minority groups,” stated Natalia Kanem, United Nations Population Fund Executive Director. “Let’s make this crisis a watershed moment in how we recognise, treat, and respond to older people, so we can work together to build the world of health, well-being, and respect that everyone deserves.”
Our society is losing billions of dollars as a result of ageism. According to a 2020 study, ageism in negative age-related stereotypes and self-perceptions resulted in an additional US$63 billion in annual costs for the US’s eight most expensive health conditions. It equates to one dollar for every seven dollars spent on these conditions for all Americans over 60 for one year. As per estimates in Australia, if 5% of people aged 55 (and more) were working, the national economy would benefit by AUD 48 billion per year.
Currently, there’s a scarcity of data and information on the economic costs of age discrimination, and more study is required to better understand its economic consequences, especially in low and middle-income economies. “Ageism damages everyone, young and old.”
However, it is so widespread and accepted in our views, laws, regulations, and organizations that we refuse to see its harmful effect on our rights and respect.” said Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the United Nations.
Ageism unfairly belittles seniors who have worked hard their entire lives only to discover that “The Golden Years” aren’t really gold. Ageism’s impact doesn’t only involve seniors but their families and, in the end, our entire society, too.
From being refused interest-free credit, a new credit card, car insurance, or travel insurance to receiving a lower quality of service in a restaurant or shop, and this might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Workplace ageism forces people out in their 40s and 50s, causes health problems like cancer, heartaches, depression, suicide, etc.; these eventually cause poverty like subsidized housing usage, foodbank usage, and increased senior poverty.
Ageism is an issue in all societies with adverse effects, including Stress, Depression, and a Higher risk of heart disease. In older people, it gives them a feeling that they are a burden to others, and they see their lives as less valuable. This will cause isolation and depression. Ageism can cause a damaging cycle of marginalization, which leads to low self-esteem.
As with any other “-ism,” ageism is yet another factor that modifies our society into worse. When it penetrates any organization, as time goes by, its’ ugly face will be apparent, and you’ll notice its presence wherever you go. Finding a job becomes more challenging as you get become older. It’s no surprise that a younger workforce with less experience and less wage is always preferable to hiring managers. You’ve heard many stories about older folks getting ignored or neglected at hospitals. I witnessed an old lady in her 80s getting missed at a hospital and ended up bedridden with bowel obstruction illness.
We searched for a suitable caring senior facility for my grandmom when I was a kid. I witnessed an older adult calling for the nurse, and she acted like she didn’t hear. Even when my father asked one of the seniors how they are getting treated? He said they don’t care about our medications. Two years ago, when my company was looking for an experienced worker, a 50-year-old came by, and as I heard, he had a great resume with a suitable qualification for the position. However, the manager decided to choose an amateur youngster over him.
There are many stories about age discrimination in every part of our society. All it takes is an online look-up in Quora or Reddit to read about some unfortunate experiences with ageism. In my opinion, we need better laws and regulations in favour of the ageing population. These people have paid their dues to society, and we all have to be considerate about their rights and well-being. All I know is, this trend of ageism toward older folks has to change. If it doesn’t, our younger generation will have a worse attitude toward them.