Learn About Ageism

Geriatrician Robert Butler coined the term ageism in the 1960s 1. It refers to stereotyping of and prejudice against older people and the aging process. Ageism is shown in our attitudes toward aging and stereotype driven interactions with older people. Ageism is common in our society. Even young children show ageism toward older people2. Holding negative views of aging has been linked with poorer health for older individuals3,4.

Ageism can also be seen in policy and policy development. The World Health Organization’s theme for the 2016 International Day of the Older Person (October 1) was “Take a Stand Against Ageism” . Promoting awareness of ageism is an important step toward eliminating ageism. The design of the Office Logo is aimed at promoting realistic rather than stereotypical views of aging.

To increase awareness for your group, the Office of the Seniors Advocate can come and speak on this topic. Contact us

about ageism

1. Achenbaum, W. A. (2014). Robert N. Butler, MD (January 21, 1927-July 4, 2010): visionary leader. The Gerontologist, 54(1), 6-12. doi:10.1093/geront/gnt015
2. Kwong See, S. T., Rasmussen, C., & Pertman, S. (2012) Measuring children’s age stereotyping using a modified Piagetian conservation task. Educational Gerontology, 39(3), 149-165. Doi:10.1080/03601277.2010.515891
3. Levy, B. R. (2003) Mind matters: Cognitive and physical effects of aging self-stereotypes. Journals of Gereontology: Psychological Sciences, 58B, P203-P211.
4. Levy, B. R. (2009) Stereotype embodiment: A psychosocial approach to aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 332-336.