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This article by Todd D. Nelson focuses on Ageism, which is a form of discrimination based on his or her age. The author states many “research on ageism has focused on prejudice against older persons” (Nelson 276). As modern medical technology has advances, the average life span of people also increases. In such a situation, the author discusses that the article is to provide recommendations and solutions, which will ultimately eliminate the negative impact of age stereotypes.
In the beginning, the author specifies what accounts into ageism on cognition. By showing the result of one interesting test, he says that “the influence of negative age stereotypes can be very strong, even when the older individual is not consciously thinking about the negative stereotypes” (Nelson 276). He further brings in Levy and Langer’s study to argue that the memory loss in old age is dependent on many factors, especially cultural differences in how society treats its elders.
The study indicates that there is an obvious contrast between the cultures of East and West. Chinese culture tends to view aging positively while American culture tends to view it pessimistically. Additionally, the author moves on to the issue in physical health by introducing a common assumption people have. Although it is somewhat true that physical decline and aging have a direct correlation, he points out that it is the matter of perception whether they hasten physical decline or not. In fact, he states that elders who have negative views really tend to demonstrate worse physical disabilities compared to those who perceives positively.
According to the two longitudinal studies of age-related beliefs and health outcomes, it is because stress and adrenaline, which came from unconscious or conscious exposure to negative stereotypes, weaken the immune system, leaving them vulnerable to illness. As the author approaches this problem from the longevity side, he continues to talk that the negative stereotypes even affect on their will to live, causing them to lower expectations regarding not only their physical quality but also their mental and cognitive quality of life.
The author criticizes that the problem of ageism often goes unrecognized, and those beliefs still prevail a lot among the nation today. A lot of people are not aware that it also occurs on a smaller scale, and oftentimes that is when it hurts most. Then, the author concludes his article by suggesting solutions. He highlights that positive views or rejection of negative stereotypes “can counteract those negative consequences” (Nelson 279). And considering of many factors that affect elders, he advises to those who do not perceive the issue of ageism seriously must not forget that each day they, too, are growing a little older.
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