It shouldn’t come as a shock that research in The United States shows negative attitudes toward older individuals are far more common that positive ones. Ask anybody on the street and you’ll likely get a pretty dim view of our elderly. You might hear vaguely insulting comments about their inabilities or outright attacks on their perceived drain on common resources. But is this societal ageism an inherent part of Western Culture? And if it is, what can you do to combat ageism and keep the seniors you love from falling victim?
Ageism Wounds More than Pride
These stereotypical images of elderly individuals as helpless, pitiful, or even comically incapable can have a tremendous negative impact on an individual’s self-esteem, emotional well-being, and behavior. Seniors repeatedly exposed to them may begin to feel like dependent, non-contributing members of society and, as you know, a senior’s mental well-being has a significant effect on their physical health.
Obvious ageism isn’t necessarily to blame. Our Western Culture is full of veiled discrimination. Whether it’s in the slightly off-color jokes, the skewed portrayal of older people in movies and television, or in the tone of the news pieces we see, hear, and read in the national media—ageism is everywhere.
Even something “harmless” like the lyrics of popular songs can be crippling. Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Hull found that 72% of age-related songs in America paint aging in a negative light, portraying the elderly as:
Filled with self-pity
You Can Fight the Effects of Ageism
The best way to combat this socially accepted ageism is to take a cue from one of the many cultures around the world in which the elderly are respected and even revered.
These cultures include:
The common thread that runs through these anti-ageist cultures is that the family unit tends to stick together. They live in the same household (or within close proximity) and regularly incorporate older members into everyday life from cooking and cleaning to childcare. In these countries elder care becomes less about the burden and more about enjoying quality time with the individual.
But in this hectic workaday world in which we live finding the time, the resources, and the ability to keep your aging loved one living safely at home can be difficult. As a family caregiver you don’t have to take on the responsibility alone.
Second Family Home Care Helps Elderly Individuals Stay at Home Longer
The experienced and respectful caregivers at Second Family Home Care can help your loved ones stay at home longer and maintain that necessary social connection. We can fill in for family caregivers so they can take much-needed breaks or provide full-time non-medical in-home care for seniors living on their own. This makes caregiving less of a chore, delegates the responsibility, and allows you and your family to focus on spending quality time with your loved ones.
Contact us or call (972) 347-0700 to schedule a consultation today.