Discrimination on Elders in America

Essay, 2018

7 Pages


Have you heard of the fountain of youth? Surely, some of you might have. Unfortunately, it is no more than a wishful thinking myth. To every person in this whole world, aging is an inevitable natural phenomenon that humans have to embrace. As a matter of fact, the advancement of medical treatment and technology has undeniably extended the life expectancy of humans, albeit being able to live a little longer, would they be able to lead easy lives that they deserve? It is tragic to break this out to you, no, they would not. As people ripen into their middle years, in many parts of the world, they will mostly fall victim to ageism-the discrimination and prejudice toward people based on their age, which unquestionably impacts their quality of life, their job prospects, relations with others, and their families. As researchers have discovered that in the United States, elderly discrimination has never been a scarce issue, which can be classified into distinctive criteria, such as the injustice in workplace, in society, and in households, shamelessly.

Notably, the area where elderly discriminations are commonly seen is the workplace. Many old job applicants find it as a fact of life to face issues in pursuing jobs. According to a 2013 AARP survey report, "more than one-third of older workers are not self-assured that they could pursue another career right away without having to take a salary abatement or occupation move (37%). Amongst the measurement, roughly 19% said that the reasons they are not secure are in behalf of age discrimination and 21% determined age prejudice, such as being regarded as 'too old' or incapable in some ways because of their seniority" (Staying Ahead of the Curve 2013: AARP Multicultural Work and Career Study Perceptions of Age Discrimination in the Workplace- Ages 45-74 2013). Some employers believe older people tend to work for shorter periods compared to younger people (Hannon, 2015). Embedded in the intimation of workplace abuses, older people are often regarded as a second option when there are some issues in the workplace, or when the employers have the privilege to make beelines for better and more beneficial substitutes based on their age. In the early 2000s the new concept of retirement has emerged, known as early retirement. This has pushed the typical retirement ages of workers done work to the late 50s and early 60s (Nelson, 2004). As reported in a book titled "Age Discrimination in the American Workplace: Old At A Young Age", Joseph Bartek, an employee of the URA, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, was demoted after a thirty year position, due to a budgetary reason, and then five years later been denied promotions five times for thirty year old individuals who are not as qualified as Bartek (Gregory, 2001). Older individuals often faced common stereotypes and misperceptions generalized about their skills, abilities based on age, and certain negative attitudes from youngsters. People of old age are discriminated against on the basis of the assumptions that are they are unable to learn new things, less productive than younger workers and more likely to miss work due to sickness ( Schulz, 2006). Another example of a common evidence of stereotypes is, compared with younger workers, older workers are less motivated, reluctant to commit in training and occupation reinforcement, not as dependable, and more prone to work and family conflicts (Ng and Feldman, 2012). Overall, as described above, growing old in America is surprisingly an unspoken legit reason of being unemployed, or being treated entirely different from others, precisely not just in workplace, but also in other societal aspects.

Elders in America are more likely to be abused or neglected by people around them, and are not generally accepted by the society in many ways. Nurses, for instance, and other members of the society have immorally neglected to give the necessary care to seniors. As stated by NCPEA (“Neglect and Self-Neglect”, 2008), in places such as homes and the welfare centers, the indication of neglects such as the absences of food and water, mismanagement in medication as well as not caring about hygiene, can be seen. It has also been confirmed that at times, the caregivers express their dissatisfactions or anger toward the elders (“Neglect and Self-Neglect”, 2008). Once too often, those caregivers even left them alone at public places (Robinson, et. al, 2015). These actions can either be intentional or unintentional (Robinson, et. al, 2015). Abuses toward old people come in unpleasant varieties including physical, emotional, or verbal abuse by the caretakers and sometimes, surprisingly, even by their own family members. A survey conducted in Boston, showed that 32 in every 1000 elders suffer from either violence or verbal abuse, or both (Pillemer and Finkelhor, 2015). Every so often, the elderlies get ignored and most of the time, they are isolated from their family and relatives (Robinson, et. al, 2015). Injuries or bruises such as sprains, dislocations or fractured or broken bones are visible on the old people; based on the NCPEA’s report, when questions are posed on the family members, suspicious explanations on the causes of the injuries were all different according to each member (“Physical Abuse”, 2008). Last but not least, financial frauds could also be the potential enemies. Tragically, hospital staffs, were claimed to have tried to take advantages on the elders by permitting unmoral acts or crimes. Some hospitals or doctors charged expensively on old people unreasonably or without offering service toward them and occasionally, even prescribed them wrong kinds of medication (Robinson, et. al, 2015). In 2011, a study conducted by the MetLife and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech has illustrated that approximately $2.9 billion were lost regarding the fraud on seniors annually (Clark-Wendel, 2014). These kind of scams not only affect the elderly themselves, but also the whole family (Clark-Wendel, 2014). According to the facts, it is clear that there are many cases which have shown that seniors are likely to be exploited and belittled in unimaginable ways by society as well as caretakers.

Although crime and elder abuse by outsiders are outlawed, elders still have to cope with some significant immoral acts imposed by their own family in some ways. A certain number of elderly people have been sent to nursing homes to be taken care of and spend their last days in these facilities. Grievously, once they have been put into those institutions, their loved ones tend to forget and cruelly exclude them entirely from their attention. Studies have revealed deplorable carelessness and the temptation of younger relatives to flake out the nursing home residents. Many of those residents encounter immeasurable solitude and omission (Frame, 2012). According to a blog from Dating Dementia, it is not uncommon for these ripening oldsters to sit for hours after hours, days after days, instilled with false hope, in the lobby, watching the doorstep and expecting for someone who hardly or not at all ever showed their face (Wurtzel, 2014). Most of the golden age people would go through dementia and the decline of physical ability, in which the family members can take advantage of. According to American Psychological Association (APA), about 95% of retired elders live on their own or with their spouses, children or other relatives. Whereas, elderly misdeed occurs, families, other household members, or paid caregivers are consistently the perpetrators (“Elder Abuse and Neglect”, 2012). Agnes, 78 years old, moved in with her 55-year-old daughter, Emily. Claimed to have been clouded with some stress, Emily has caught herself calling her mother names and pinning her mother on ruining her life. At one time, she lost her temper and slapped her mother. Simultaneously feeling distressed and lonesome, Agnes seemed cornered and valueless (APA, “Elder Abuse and Neglect”, 2012). Because of their decline in mental ability, elders tend to have their financial assets taken care of by other people, mostly by their closed ones. Therefore, golden-agers are frequent targets of financial scams and as our population ages, this problem will tremendously defuse on indeed extensive numbers. Conforming to the ABA journal, The Minnesota Supreme Court wants to impede elder misconduct by lawyers, including a lawyer who pleaded guilty to financial violation of her Alzheimer’s-infected father. The court disbarred Minnesota lawyer Lisa Jane Mayne for swiping $60,000 from her father after he entrusted her as his attorney in 2005 (Weiss, 2010). In brief, striving through old ages can be torturing in abounding manners, in countless categories, by every possible imposers regardless of genetic relation, attachments or friendships, erroneously, at the hand of the inconsideration of our generation.

Most senior citizens of America have never led an easy life because of the circumstances of the society they are living in. People surrounding them including their colleagues, family members, and strangers are the ones contributing to these discriminative acts. The fact that elderly people are neglected by those around them, live with loneliness, faced immoral acts such as fraud, financial assets issues, and unfairness in career, they struggle to live peaceful lives and are under a lot of pressure which might lead to physical or mental harms. If these controversial matters are not to be tackled out or taken into considerations, if the injustice and neglect are nonetheless acknowledge however welcomed, we, the current generation , are consciously walking in the path to being the next victims of this crime. And unless the headline “The Fountain of Youth” would ever at some time in the future appear in the news, we will have to be our own heroes.


AARP. (2013). Staying ahead of the curve 2013: AARP Multicultural Work and Career Study Perceptions of Age Discrimination in the Workplace -- ages 45-74. Washington, DC: AARP. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/surveys_statistics/general/2013/Staying-Ahead-of-the-Curve-2013-AARP-Multicultural-Work-and-Career-Study-Perceptions-of-Age-Discrimination-in-the-Workplace-Ages-45-74-AARP-res-gen.pdf

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Clark-Wendel, P. (2014, Sept 9). Financial fraud: The top 4 scams against the elderly. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sungardas/2014/09/09/what-everyone-should-know-about-financial-fraud-against-the-elderly/

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OHRC. (2015). Ageism. Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/time-action-advancing-human-rights-older-ontarians/ageism

Physical Abuse. (2008). NCPEA. Retrieved from http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/physical.html

Pillemer, K. Finkelhor, D. (2015). The prevalence of elder abuse: A random sample survey [Abstract]. The Gerontologist, 28(1), 51-57. Retrieved from http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/1/51.short

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Richard, S. (2006). The Encyclopedia of Aging: Fourth Edition, 2-Volume Set. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.kh/books?id=tgS29D0Mr4gCpg=PA43dq=age+stereotypeshl=ensa=Xved=0CB0Q6wEwAGoVChMI7o6J75qZxwIVDgiOCh03ngAy#v=onepageq=age%20stereotypesf=false

Robinson. L., Saisan, J. Segal, J. (2015, Sept). Elder abuse and neglect. Help Guide. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/elder-abuse-and-neglect.htm

Ron, A., Melba, A. H., Ananda, B. A., Heidi, S. R., Kenneth, S., Wendy, M., Dean, G. K. (2010, February). Prevalence and Correlates of Emotional, Physical, Sexual, and Financial Abuse and Potential Neglect in the United States: The National Elder Mistreatment Study [Abstract]. Am J Public Health, 100(2), 292–297. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.163089

Todd, D. N., (2004). Ageism: Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Older Persons. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.kh/books?hl=enlrid=UvxEoFQ0LYwCoi=fndpg=PA163dq=elderly+discrimination+in+the+workplaceots=zYVl9JRSNfsig=OcxwvFUOzRXmjg1CrQE1t1DYPzY#v=onepageqf=false


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Discrimination on Elders in America
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Discrimination, ageism, old people, issue, America, problem
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Auriane Sauv (Author), 2018, Discrimination on Elders in America, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/418721


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