Inherent ageism

One of my (several) angry rants is about people of all ages who refer to “us” and “them”—them being older people. Excuse me but all of us are “we”. Old people are not a separate species. Humans of all ages have huge variability and when one assumes that people over 65, or whichever milepost you choose, have commonalities, you are bound to be wrong.

In fact, the longer we live, the greater the variability. Babies have age-specific markers. It is somewhat predictable at what age babies begin to walk and talk. But the longer a human lives, the greater the variability. Even by the teen years, people are more unpredictable. Any time one generalizes about all old people, one is bound to be wrong.

This “us” and “them” is particularly obnoxious in people working with older people. Just as racism and sexism foster unfair stereotypes and injustices, ageism does too.

One thought on “Inherent ageism

  1. I couldn’t agree more. As I say in one of my talks, we waste so much energy sustaining the illusion that the old are somehow not US, and that denial is where ageism takes root. When we see people as other than us—other color, other nationality, other religion—their welfare seems less of a human right.

    Liked by 1 person

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