Ending Ageism

The Life Extension Foundation news is reprinting an interesting article on ageism today.

The census bureau estimates that by 2050 approximately 25 percent of Americans will be over the age of 65. Yet our culture has done little to eliminate the one accepted prejudice that could relegate a quarter of our population to second-class citizenship - Ageism. As our population continues to age, the need to halt ageism and ageist practices becomes more urgent, according to the recently published issue brief by the International Longevity Center-USA (ILC-USA) entitled "The Future of Ageism."

As advances in medicine increasingly separate being old from being infirm, I think that ageist prejudices based on the old truths of comparative ability will start to wane. However, we are just beginning this process, and prejudice against the elderly has been hypothesised to be a root cause of the unwillingness of many Western cultures to allocate significant resources to aging and serious anti-aging research.

Oriental cultures, on the other hand, tend to place a greater emphasis on self-reliance and respect for the old - the aged are presented as having great power in many myths from those regions of the world. The public and private sectors in China, Korea, and Japan are devoting enormous sums of money towards advancing regenerative medicine and curing age-related degenerative conditions.

"As we age, we crave the same respect and consideration that we garnered in our youth," said Dr. Butler. "We must work together-as a society-to promote positive, optimistic attitudes and portrayals of older people. If we fail to show compassion for and protect the rights of older people today, we are destined to suffer from the same ageist injustices tomorrow."

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