This was a birthday card. • Chosen as the most despicable by AARP
Are we all bad drivers? • Such cartoons stereotype all of us. • How true is it? • What are the statistics?
Don’t Talk Yourself Over the Hill A perspective of psychological aging Presented by Evelyn B. Kelly PhD, Medical writer and author email@example.com
What do you think older adultsare like? • Give me an adjective that in your minds describes older adults. • Note I did not use the words “senior citizens”. • Where did you get your information?
Go back to 1900’s • What was retirement like? • Because of lack of communication, many people did not know how old they were. • Older people lived with relatives- made what contributions they could to the livelihood of the family.
Otto von Bismarck: 1885 • Wanted to get rid of some older officers • Created a system to enable them to leave the army • Set the age at 65
New Deal picked up age 65 • The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement
Development of the retirement culture • For the past 50 years, retirement has been depicted as a lifestyle of leisure and luxury- playing golf in tropical settings, traveling through the world, dining. • However, a segment of society cannot reach these lofty goals- forced inactivity, illness, barely making ends meet
Retirement has become part of the American dream- but what is the reality? Up to 1960- retirement meant being put out to pasture • What changed in 1960?
Del E. Webb in 1960 • Massive marketing campaign for his Sun City Retirement community • Groups of older people together- older people grouped as go-go’s, slow-go’s, no-go’s
At some point the idea that we are getting older creeps into our thoughts • It is not that we are getting older- but that we are getting OLD
Let’s look at the Labelers • Your label in societyTelevisionComedy • Those around you • Strangers/unthoughtful people
Kuypers and Bengtson’s Social Reconstruction Model • Your sense of self, • Your ability to relate self to society, and • Your personal mastery • Everything is related to social labeling and values that one experiences.
Aging assumes a pathological quality because of the nature of environmental changes. • Reorganization in later life • What are some of the ways your life has reorganized?
Seven Steps that make up going downhill • 1. Precondition of susceptibility • Locus of control theory: Internal/external • Internal- behaviors are guided by personal decisions • External- forces outside control you • Example: your health decisions
2. Dependence on external labeling • Do we depend on others to make us what we are? • Not bad for an old man. • Grandma was slow but she was old
3. Social labeling as incompetent • Lifestyles associated with different stages of life cycle are roles learned in culture. • Images of old age cultivate our concept of aging and age roles we assume.
Television • Wholesale distributor of images and the mainstream of our popular culture, world of places, people, roles. • Most of us experience this world with little selectivity or deviation for an average of 30 hours a week.
We are portrayed as helpless victims. • We are sweet and vulnerable. • “Elderly Ocala woman scammed out of her life savings” • “Police hunt driver who hit elderly man in wheelchair then fled” • We are pictured as being warm, but incompetent figures who deserve our pity.
We are vulnerable children in need of protection and charity. But, as is often the case with children, this narrative makes it easier for the opinions, concerns, and contributions of elders to be marginalized and discounted.
Those who defy negative stereotypes are presented as bizarre and comical. • The Geezer Bandit- in his 70s- most bank robberies get little attention • Older person fended off an intruder with a frying pan. Why is this newsworthy? • Madea- the gun-toting granny
Movie-goers chuckle every time Tyler Perry's character, Madea, pulls a handgun from her purse.
Deterioration and decline are inevitable • Author Elizabeth Dozois in a review of the literature explained: • Research suggests that most people (including older adults) do not understand the course of typical aging and grossly overestimate its impact. According to the NIA, what is the only system that appears to be affected by aging?
What did he die of? • He died of old age. • People do not die of old age- they die from the failure of some organ- and that is not really that simple. There are multiple factors involved. • Estimated maximum lifespan is 122.
Do you expect your mental faculties to decline with age? • One study found that 90 percent of elderly respondents indicated that the likelihood of them becoming senile was very strong. • However, estimates indicate that severe senility only affects about 4 percent of people over age 65. • It is good for fund raising for certain organizations to up this number.
Forbes Magazine “It won’t be too long before baby boomers begin migrating from factory floors and corner offices to wheelchairs and adult diapers.” The author painted an overly negative portrait of growing old. Many ads that feature elders employ similar imagery. Think of commercials for the Life Alert medical bracelet (i.e., “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”).
Internalizing Low Expectations Yale University studies have shown that exposure to these gloomy images actually causes seniors to walk more slowly, hear and remember less well, increases stress levels, and harms heart health.
Elders are demonized as a group. • As individuals, we are often treated as sweet, pathetic figures. • As a group, however, we are judged more harshly. When discussed as a faceless monolith (i.e. “the elderly”), older people are often condemned as “greedy geezers” who undeservedly drain our shared resources via Medicare and Social Security.
Example: • Medicare uses the force of government to take money from one group of people — those who are working — in order to pay for the health-care costs of another group — senior citizens. • Wouldn’t you think that such an important moral principle as “Thou shalt not steal” would be something important for senior citizens to think about, especially given that, statistically speaking, they’re closer to death than everyone else?
As a group we areunder-represented and ignored. • In a recent Duke University survey 80 percent of elder respondents reported experiencing ageism, such as being ignored or not taken seriously because of their age. • Researchers have also documented the propensity of younger individuals to use “baby-talk” (i.e., exaggerated tone, simplified speech, and high pitch) when speaking to older adults.
Physicians • Docs have been shown to condescend to and patronize older patients by providing oversimplified information or speaking to the family instead of the older patient. • According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age-based discrimination complaints in the workplace are at an all-time high—up 29% from last year.
From the television viewing that you do, what is your impression of older people? What programs use characters- and how do they appear? • Do these people reflect your opinion of yourself?
From your viewing of ads, can you think of ads that feature older adults? • What is your impression? • Do the ads get you to change your mind about what you will do?
Whether we want it to or not- for some of us these ads affect the way we think about ourselves and we begin to identify. • I am going downhill.
Humor is a two-edged sword: It is Great • One side: Humor is good • Norman Cousins in the Anatomy of an Illness cured his by laughing at it. • Humor as therapy
Humor: We become what we laugh at • Plato: Humor gets into our psyches and we begin to internalize