“Disrupt Ageism” virtual seminar scheduled for February 15 – Peace Arch News
If you drive like a little old lady, are a grumpy old man, over the hill, are past your prime, or have a senior moment, you’re the subject of some not-so-funny ageist cliches.
Ageism, as defined by Robert Butler in 1969, refers to stereotyping (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) toward others or ourselves based on of age.
It’s insidious, damaging, and systemic in our society — but it doesn’t have to be, says Dan Levitt, gerontologist, instructor at SFU, UBC, and BCIT, and CEO of KinVillage at Delta.
Levitt will present “Disrupt Ageism” at a Zoom Webinar for Third Age Learning in Kwantlen on Tuesday, February 15 at 2 p.m.
Ageism is everywhere, says Levitt, in our communities, our institutions and in our relationship to ourselves.
It is particularly acute on our health system. There are 10 times as many pediatric hospitals as there are geriatric hospitals, Levitt notes, and the system supports age-based health care rationing.
For example, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, ventilators were provided to patients with the highest survival rate, i.e. not the elderly.
And when COVID outbreaks occur in care homes, residents are confined to their rooms with no social contact.
Even incarcerated felons are allowed one hour a day outdoors, Levitt notes.
Although age discrimination in the workplace is no longer permitted by law, there is a subtle inference – backed by the incentive of Canada Pension and Old Age Security benefits – that at 65, you’re an old dog who can’t learn new tricks, a digital dunce who should step aside for the younger, more tech-savvy.
The city’s zoning is even impacted by ageism when NIMBY protesters oppose senior housing projects or hospices in their neighborhood.
Visual stereotypes of older people further denigrate aging. Case in point: the “Elder Crossing” signs depicting a decrepit, bent couple with canes.
We all buy into the senior stereotype and for some it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, negatively impacting confidence, job prospects, financial security and quality of life.
How can society become more age-friendly?
Reversing ageism means embracing old age.
“It’s OK to act your age,” Levitt said. “Healthy aging is about feeling good about yourself. Be bold. Be your age and who you are. Flaunt it.
Yes. Let’s start destigmatizing aging by removing ageist phrases.
Even those of us who don’t mind being patronized when someone says, “You look good for your age.
To sign up for Disrupt Ageism, email [email protected] or call 604-599-3077.