The reality for many older people is that ageing is not a positive experience. Negative ageist attitudes are evident across different societies and social and ethnic groups around the world. It is suggested by the World Health Organisation that ‘ageism may now be even more pervasive than sexism and racism’. Negative stereotypes of ageing even have the potential to affect the holistic health of an older person, reducing quality and length of life.
Yet there is a positive to all of this. In fact, ageing may be considered in evolutionary terms as a valuable process for humans because it develops the character of a person. From this perspective, an older person is of unique value to a community group.
The perceived value of older people, however, is influenced by the cultural values and attitudes of all people living in a community.
The focus of this article
The second article in this series on the topic of aged care explores issues related to ageing stereotypes, ageism and the negative impact this has on older peoples’ functional ability, and their health and wellbeing.
In this article, I will focus on these areas and discuss the podiatrist’s potential role in relation to:
- The three ageism predictors
- The effect of negative stereotypes and ageism on older peoples’ health and wellbeing, and;
- Changing the narrative about ageing.