What does it take to really drive change in how people view aging? How do you reverse the trends that our society has often taken in accepting “subtle” ageist actions and views, and treating them as “normal”?
For the third year in a row, Parker has conducted the National Survey on Aging in America to track opinions and trends in aging and to become better informed of what the conversation looks like regarding aging in America. This year’s results reveal disparities in views between males and females and different age groups. This translates into: more work needs to be done in changing the way people look at aging.
The Parker study unveils men are 13% more likely to consider someone “old” compared to women. Similarly, Millennials and people in the Generation X age group are far more likely to think of a person as “old” by the time they hit their 70s than members of the Baby Boomer and Silent generations. How can we bridge this gap?
The survey also addressed some common forms of ageism in disguise such as the recent “aging challenge” that hit social media, children being asked to dress up like 100-year-olds on the 100th day of school, and birthday cards and commercials that make fun of the aging process.
Some of these forms of ageism seem innocent but they need to be recognized for what they are -damaging to older individuals, our future generations and to ourselves. When people think aging is something to poke fun at, it creates a lack of respect for the process. Yet people may not consider them offensive until they are made aware. In fact, 20% of those polled by Parker say they are now better informed after hearing these examples of ageism and feel the knowledge will change the way they think about aging or act toward older people in the future.
A positive view of aging can happen when we continuously choose each and every day to speak up against these behaviors. Parker launched the #WithIt Movement to celebrate aging and it’s our hope that over time the positive messages that #WithIt brings will overshadow the negative conversations. Will you join me in becoming a driver of change in your own communities and families?
President & CEO