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The causes of ageism and how to deal with it

Everyone is familiar with forms of discrimination and prejudice based on factors like race, ethnicity, gender and religion. But a form of discrimination that often flies under the radar in Idaho is ageism.

Ageism is any kind of bias stemming from a person’s age. It can take the form of actions that belittle or harm people as a result of their age or any stigma targeting older people. Age discrimination is a serious problem and can have a lasting impact on your career or life.

Where you can encounter ageism

One of the most prominent places where people experience ageism is in the workplace. Older workers tend to be passed over for promotion more than their younger counterparts as well as laid off or forced out of their jobs at a higher rate.

Another area where ageism is common is in the field of healthcare. Sometimes, doctors are less likely to offer certain courses of treatment to older patients, especially those with other unrelated health issues. And medical researchers may not include older people with as great of frequency in clinical trials, resulting in less data on medication effects in older patients.

How to deal with ageism

One powerful way to deal with ageism is simply to push back when you encounter it. For many people who exhibit ageist behavior, it’s operating at a subconscious level rather than something they’re actively thinking about. By challenging ageist behaviors, you have the ability to change environments and minds.

Another tactic for dealing with ageism is to make proactive attempts to include older people. That goes for the workplace but also for social life as well. Older people can often become more isolated over the years, and bringing them into contact with younger people fosters more interaction and can dispel some stereotypes.

One of the root causes of ageism is fear. People don’t like to consider their own mortality or the prospect of being older. But older people have the same legal rights as everyone else, and discrimination–intentional or not–is illegal