Ageism is a major problem in the United States, as elderly individuals experience age discrimination on a regular basis. This type of discrimination may be as simple as impatience displayed by store clerks, or it may be as tangibly impacting as discrimination by employers As noted, employment is not he only arena in which elderly individuals experience ageism. Age discrimination is often practiced by banks, credit unions, and other financial lenders.
Many times, a creditor will refuse to extend a loan to an elderly individual, often because the lender believes that an elderly borrower will have difficulty repaying any debt that he/she accrues. As elderly individuals generally retire around the age of 62, they frequently do not maintain a substantial regular income.
Lenders may also fear that unexpected illness will hinder a borrower’s ability to repay debt. One of the most damaging forms of ageism is practiced by physicians. In many cases, when patients reach the age of 65, physicians will stop screening and treating them for illnesses that are generally attended to in younger patients.
For example, some physicians have admitted to not treating elderly patients for high blood pressure, as this is a natural effect of aging. Certainly, this type of age discrimination may be fatal, causing an individual to suffer from a preventable heart attack. A number of physicians have confessed, too, that they do not screen elderly patients for certain types of cancer.
Age discrimination may not only be detrimental to an individual’s physical health, but may also negatively affect his/her emotional well-being. The process of aging is often very difficult for an individual. As the elderly are frequently unable to partake in more of the activities that they once enjoyed, they may experience episodes of depression and irritability.
In some cases, even if an elderly individual is physically fit and still active, though, many individuals and relatives will disregard their thoughts and opinions based on stereotypes.
When an individual experiences ageism in association with the already troubling emotional effects of aging, he/she will often become insecure and develop low self-esteem. In all, ageism is hurtful to an elderly individual’s physical and emotional health, and therefore, legislation has been instated to prohibit age discrimination in various arenas.