I didn’t realize ageism, or a negative form of stereotyping based on age, even existed until I was an adult. I came to understand that older people can be overlooked for job opportunities, denied social services, and even stereotyped in the media.
People assume that they have memory or physical impairments and often don’t take them seriously. All of this can even lead to negative impacts on their health and well-being. Unfortunately, ageism is everywhere you go, and prejudice that has been normalized in our society.
By 2050, over 2 billion people will be over 60 years of age, which is such a significant portion of the population. The World Health Organization states that life expectancy can be increased by 7.5 years when someone begins to think about aging positively.
Something must be done, but it can be hard to know how to go about taking action. Here are the seven ways you can take action to fight back against ageism.
1. Recognize it when it happens
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around. Know the warning signs of ageism and look out for them so you can put a stop to it.
It may have been happening all along, and you didn’t even realize it. Being able to identify where and when it is happening will help you better prepare for how to deal with the situation in the future.
2. Speak up against it
Speak up and let someone know if they are treating you disrespectfully and that you don’t appreciate it. Stay active in conversations and activities and don’t sit on the sidelines and watch.
You deserve to be a part of it just as much as the next person. Additionally, don’t allow yourself to be passed over in the workplace. If you feel that ageism is taking place, reach out to HR to file a complaint.
3. Reflect on how you feel
It’s important to reflect on how ageism makes you feel. Don’t hold your feelings in and ignore them.
It’s normal for the treatment to make you feel sad or angry. The assumptions many people make about the older population are wrong and should not be tolerated. Let others know how they are affecting your emotions.
4. Act inclusively
Show others how everyone should be treated with respect despite age, race, gender, or religion by being inclusive of everyone in your words and actions.
Fighting back against ageism could have a positive effect on how all people are treated. They may just take the hint and realize that they need to adjust their own behavior.
5. Be independent
Show everyone that age is merely a number by being as independent as you can be. If you allow someone to do something for you repeatedly, they will start to believe that you cannot do it yourself.
If you show them just how much you can do for yourself, the presumptions that come along with ageism may disappear.
6. Keep up with technology
Technology is always advancing, and it can be hard to keep up. However, the world relies on it, so you must make an effort to learn how to use it.
Not only will your workplace appreciate it and potentially offer you more opportunities, but your family will be impressed that you know just as much as they do.
7. Live a healthy lifestyle
One of the best things you can do to fight back against ageism is to prioritize your health. If you live a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet and regular exercise, you’ll have a better chance of combatting the many things that can happen to one’s body as it ages.
It can also help you look younger. Keeping healthy is not only great for you but also a fight for defeating ageism.