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Free The Attitudes and the Beliefs of the Elderly in Society Essay Sample

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Introduction

Elderly people play a significant part in occupying the population of all the classes in the country. Moreover, they are faced with various challenges around them. People are getting older every day, and a new generation is growing up as well. The trend makes the elderly feel like they are left out in matters pertaining societal development. However, there is a lot of discrimination received by the aged in institutions and corporations since most of them have a particular age limit for their workforce. Social media and mass media have also played a major part in agism by reinforcing negative stereotypes. Aging is illustrated in a manner that seems positive by the media but the objective is only to pass messages of anti aging as well as framing defying aging as the only successful example.

Stereotypes that are age-based are mostly internalized when people are still young, way before the information about the age is relevant in the young people’s minds. Thus, the young accept the stereotype without examining critically. This fact can be associated with premature cognitive commitment where the young accept the beliefs without questioning. When the young people start to realize they are aging, they accept it as a fact. For instance, when one has a perception that old people cannot climb stairs they tend to look for houses without stairs and, as a result, old people no longer live in a home with stairs. When negative images and messages about aging are constantly portrayed, it makes beliefs of agism stereotypes entrenched more deeply in people’s minds. Moreover, where the media portrays aging negatively, it leads to a culture where people follow certain aging stories. Most of the issues that face the elderly are posted on the front pages of the newspapers and appear in the headlines in most TV stations.

For example, there wasa time the fashion magazines showed disconnection between the older readers when they portrayed women of over forty years as sparingly old. Campaigns that show involvement in channeling the challenges of the aged have come up to help in watching their finances and health in place. Unlike in the past, currently aging is termed as a disease, hence embracing medical technology that helps people live longer and healthier without resembling an aged person. The society now wants to delay aging and prolong life to help people in fitting the social status that’s expected. The expected long life is to help the society change its mind set on the negative attitudes about the age. Most people refer old age using words that are demeaning and are connected with negative stereotypes about the nature of growing old. This perception makes people fear growing old due to its perceived complexities; therefore, the trend needs to change so that the aging can once again be embraced as a gift, just like in the past years. It is important for the public to learn the positive effects of aging so that they can appreciate the elderly in return.

The aged play a major part in the population in key areas of the world. These type of people have, however, been faced with agism over the years. Agism refers to the thoughts, attitudes and practices that the society uses against certain individuals based on their age. The media has been in the limelight for using this term to express the challenges that the elderly face on a daily basis in the society. Based on research done previously that pulled out polls on the discrimination rates of the aged, they reported that the aged people mostly receive agism from government institutions, health sectors, corporates and their workplaces. Besides, they also receive it from the mass media, television and films. The extent of abuse is based on finances, emotional terms, sexual abuse, as well as physical violence. For example, views of older people tend to be ignored when it comes to advertising and marketing consumers’ needs.

Most of the stereotypes that the aged have been subjected to include being termed as weak and frail, which means that they are entirely dependent on other people for survival. The central message that is sent out by the media, television and films portrays the aged as hopeless and lacking self-capability. Aging has a stereotype that gives an adverse image to the society that is not the truth.

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Palmore Stated

Like all stereotypes, the stereotype of a typical older person exaggerates the importance of a few characteristics, and the society assumes these features to be true for all older people. The mass media certainly are one of the most visible and influential institutions responsible for perpetuating stereotypes about old.

The media has played a significant role in portraying agism. They have created platforms for forums and opportunities that talk about the challenges that the aged people undergo so that their problems may be somehow addressed, and eventually the media achieves its stereotyping aim. The elderly go through lots of abuses that include neglect starting from close family members to the society as a whole, physical, emotional, and psychological abuse based on sexualand financial abuse. All these are aired by the media which has led to the awareness of agism and its effects to the public, although this, at times, portrays the elderly as weak and dependent.

The perception created by the media through airing these challenges influences the society’s views on their beliefs and attitudes towards the aged generally. Everyone has a different opinion of what they get and are given by the media; hence the influence that it reflects depends on a particular individual. Once agism is aired to the public, the young generation may be scared of their old age and the aged may find it difficult to interact with the young generation.Therefore, mass media determines the interactions of the different people in the society based on the news aired. In the process of providing news about the aged and the challenges they face, the media does promote agism, although the positive impact that it implements outweighs this.

Journalism is also a mode used to toy with agism in regards to the challenges that the aged face. An example is when the elections are about to take place in a country, all aspirants may tend to use agism as a way of campaigning. This way, journalists are keen to show interest in the effects of agism only at such specific periods. In the television and film sector, the elderly are not considered as much as the youths. Most of the managers of the movies and television often assume that the young people are the ones interested in watching since the aged are not fit enough to watch these movies. In this case, they term the aged as financially incapable, and narrow-minded hence cannot be of much help to the film industry.

The limitation of this study is that the media and the marketing professions do not have ways of relating with the older population. The researchers, global organization as well as the government have also not created a clearing house of the marketing and the mass media for communicating with older generation. The goal of this clearing house is supposed to be educating the mass media and the young people about the real life aging. The young generation does not portray the old people as useful in the society and the stereotype should be stopped.

The aged have faced a lot of discrimination from many sectors of the society. The perceptions portrayed by the media and other entertainment industries should, however, change so that the aged can be incorporated in the society just like any other person. The entertainment industry should not dispute against any audience but should, however, try to reach all kinds of audiences without judging by the age. The managers and directors of the films and TV shows should also try to involve more aged people in their acting roles so that it can be demonstrated to the society that it is, however, easy to interact with the elderly people. When the films incorporate the aged and give them respectable roles in the film, the same effect will be depicted to the society, and they will start to appreciate the elderly that are close to them. This is because the media plays a significant role in impacting the society’s attitudes and views towards a particular target market. The TV shows should also try to involve the aged as presenters and show hosts in their programs. This way, the perception that the elderly are helpless will be a thing of the past since it will be a move that will show that employment in corporate sectors is not a respecter of persons. Therefore, the portrayal of old persons to the public should be screened based on positivity, to help fight agism in the society.

I would recommend that media and marketing companies such as films, television as well as mass media increase the prevalence of older adults represented. This will assist in sending a message that old people are the fabric of the society and they should be celebrated. The mass media and the marketers should also positively portray aging by giving way to realistic portrayals.

The future research for this study should be based on an understanding of agism and how to assist the professionals in recognizing the damaging myths, false perceptions as well as stereotypes of aging and how to avoid their perpetuation.

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