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After reading the provided articles, it is apparent that ageism isn’t uncommon in the workplace and even in everyday life itself. Social Security benefits that younger Americans believe are too high, may not even be enough to cover basic living expenses. James Ridgeway, the author of “The Future of Growing Old in America,” outlines the misconceptions that younger Americans have about social security benefits. “Old Age in America, by the Numbers” by Dale Russakoff speaks about the costs associated with healthcare for the elderly. Finally, “Aging is a Mixture of Gains and Losses” by Anne Karpf talks about the younger generation worrying about aging as early as in their 20’s.
There are many misconceptions about aging in today’s society. These misconceptions are arranged on a very broad spectrum of ideas. Whether it is in regards to the wrinkles you get when your older or the belief that social security is “spoiling” the elderly with money that they supposedly don’t need. “The average social security benefit currently stands at just over $1,100 a month” (Ridgeway). This amount, $1,100, is on average the amount that the elderly receive for social security benefits. This amount is supposed to pay for basic necessities, such as housing, food, water and other standard expenses. I will admit that I was one of the fellow believers that social security should be reduced due to “spoiling” the elderly. After reading that article, it has made me rethink pretty much everything about the social security system. I believe that they actually should increase the payout especially when you consider the medical costs associated with aging. Medical costs when your older, unless covered by a pension, will be very expensive. Dale Russakoff stated that “Healthy seniors with no chronic conditions from all backgrounds averaged $5,186 annually in health care costs, compared to $25,132 for those with five or more chronic conditions.” It is almost impossible to pay for that on a measly $1,100 average stipend per month after living expenses.
There are many sources of ageism. The main one would be stereotypes. Everyone of almost all ages is aware of the social stigma of being considered elderly; your pants are above your belly button, you drive 10+ miles slower than the speed limit, the list goes on and on. Even in the workplace, ageism is a very common practice. I will admit, I am guilty of being ageist myself. I currently work at a hotel, and at the time we had a very sweet gentleman in his 60’s working with us. While he was one of the nicest people to work with, his work was very slow and unorganized. Therefore working with him was dreaded all around due to the demand to pick up his extra work.
During the class lecture, I found Erikson’s life stages very interesting. It caused me to think of the characteristics that I label myself and see why that occurred. I also thought of close friends and did the same thing. By comparing and contrasting my friends and my own personal characteristics, I was able to lightly determine our differences in growing up. Due to my purpose, I have realized that between the ages of 4 and 5, I was given initiative to strive and learn on my own, as supposed to a few of my friends who don’t have as much drive. This lecture compiled with Erikson’s stages will stay with me because I want my future children to be self sustaining. With these stages, it will give me subtle cues on how to handle different situations and different ages. The way I react at the time will shape that human being for the rest of their life, therefore I want to make the right choices.
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