Discrimination against someone based on their age is known as ageism and impacts older adults and seniors in ways the older generations couldn’t have imagined. Ageism is pervasive and can occur in the workplace or even in places that are designed to help you, like health care facilities. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of this form of discrimination. That’s why this article aims to teach others about the serious impacts of ageism and how discrimination against the elderly can turn deadly.
Financial and Social Impacts
As mentioned previously, ageism can and does occur in the workplace. While some people may think of ageism in the workplace affecting younger people due to their inexperience, seniors are also seriously impacted, if not more so. This is because people often see seniors and older adults as less capable and less mentally sharp than their younger peers. Because of this, older adults can be let go or refused a job.
If seniors cannot get the financial support they need, government assistance may not be enough, or they may not even qualify. This form of discrimination impacts the livelihoods of seniors across America and is one of the leading causes of homelessness in older adults and the elderly. It leaves them isolated and resourceless, and it can leave a person feeling hopeless.
Impacts on Mental Health
Isolation due to age discrimination isn’t always due to financial loss. Often, it’s because older family and friends have passed away, leaving seniors to rely on their younger family members to care for and interact with them. However, it doesn’t always pan out this way.
Younger family members may not want to take care of their elders or can’t take care of them, and some seniors don’t have any family to rely on. Without someone to interact with and take care of them, they end up alone or unvisited in assisted living facilities.
The human brain desires deep connection and interaction in order to stay sharp and be happy. Without it, anyone can become severely depressed and even suicidal.
Impacts on Physical Health
Isolation and lack of care can have serious impacts on physical health as well. Without proper care or assistance, self-neglect can occur swiftly. This self-neglect is not limited to people with memory and mental health issues; it can happen to anyone who is left alone and isolated for extended periods of time.
However, what is arguably more frightening is ageism within the health care system. Sometimes, doctors will write off or ignore symptoms of pain and suffering as just a part of growing old when it’s really a serious health concern. Even more disturbing, seniors can be denied access to health care due to limited resources. Unfortunately, these actions have led to a handful of deaths, making it even more critical for older adults to have advocates.
Discrimination against the elderly can turn deadly, so you must advocate for yourself, whether in the workplace, at home, or in a medical facility, to protect your rights and life.