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Why Ageism is a Problem


“It’s not only what I think about aging, it’s what others around me think too,” Elizabeth told the members of her evening class.

That afternoon, Elizabeth, a smart, elegant woman in her seventies, had made a down payment on an apartment. When her husband died a year ago, she had decided to sell her home. For the past two weeks, she had tracked in and out of apartments and listened as superintendents hailed their buildings by the number of nights the residents played Bingo. “But I don’t play Bingo,” she said.

Age stereotyping has a negative impact on older adults.

While the scientific community’s view of the aging process has undergone profound changes in recent years, the general public’s perceptions of aging haven’t caught up.

This is a problem because our expectations about aging have a serious impact on the aging process. In a major study, reported in the August 2002 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that holding a positive attitude towards the aging process can extend your lifespan by 7.5 years.

How aware are you of what normal aging really is? Test your Aging IQ. at