Author Topic: On Ageism  (Read 3336 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2018, 10:57:02 am »
When I go into my one job a couple of times a week, I usually go with people from my former team. Most of them I don't know well because I left that team before they got there (my new team is much smaller and people usually eat at their desks). They're mostly in their 20s and early 30s, maybe a couple are 40ish. They seem to genuinely like me and pay attention to me and laugh really hard at my jokes. They're seriously amused, not just being polite. Which surprises even me.

I didn't get that response from my former teammates (almost all since quit or laid off). Their average age was probably a bit older than these people. Most of them were nice enough, but nothing special. A few were outright snooty to me, which I could only explain as weird ageism.

So I'm not sure what the deal is. The team's unofficial social leader is a gay man of 29 who is extremely outgoing, funny and charismatic. He got everyone involved in cubicle-wall magnetic Scrabble game. Last week he started an office pool to guess the brackets in the NCAA tournaments (I only know to call it that because that's what was at the top of the page, and he made me fill it out, too.) He seems to really like me -- listens to what I have to say, gets my jokes. Than there's a really nice Muslim woman who, though pretty Westernized in appearance and dress, is active at her mosque and has never had a sip of alcohol. She and I get along really well, too. And I'm on a pretty decent basis with most of the others.

So sometimes it might just be a matter of chemistry, I guess.

However, my stepmother said something chilling not long ago. She's 75. Now retired, she rose from secretary to VP of a Fortune 500 company (which I don't think anyone could even do these days). She's very active in the local arts scene, and sits on the boards of several major arts institutions. She was chairman of the Guthrie Theater board when it planned and executed a move from the building it had occupied forever to a fancy new building overlooking the Mississippi. (The Guthrie is a venerable multi-stage regional theater.)

Anyway, what she said was that she still goes to the board meetings, but younger people are in charge now. They give her something to do, but she no longer feels relevant. That was her word. She's just as smart and capable as ever. Just no longer treated as relevant.  :(


Offline CellarDweller

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2018, 05:50:32 pm »
I think  that  younger people may not know it, but they are dismissing older people.   I believe that there is a stereotype of older people that they are not as mentally "there" as  younger people.

I also think that this will decline.  It seems that older people are staying in the workforce, and taking care of their health in better ways.   When I see  commercials, I don't see older couples, bending over, as they walk with canes.  They are being portrayed as more active, healthy, and mentally together than they used to be.

This commercial uses both, not necessarily the active part, but definitely the health and mentally together parts.



[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL8ycSiVhCU[/youtube]



Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2018, 06:58:56 pm »
I think  that  younger people may not know it, but they are dismissing older people.   I believe that there is a stereotype of older people that they are not as mentally "there" as  younger people.

I agree, there certainly is that stereotype.

Quote
I also think that this will decline.  It seems that older people are staying in the workforce, and taking care of their health in better ways.   When I see  commercials, I don't see older couples, bending over, as they walk with canes.  They are being portrayed as more active, healthy, and mentally together than they used to be.

I hope you're correct about the decline, but I fear that you're being overly optimistic.

As for commercials, I think you really need to look carefully at what is being sold, and to whom. Of course you're going to see happy, healthy, active older people if the product being sold is something supposed to keep older people healthy and active.

I remember a particular commercial (I think it was for Ensure) that featured an older couple driving down some highway in a convertible, healthy and happy--and using Ensure.

On the other hand, if the product is some sort of medical alert device, then you're going to see a "I've fallen and I can't get up" type of commercial.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2018, 09:30:20 am »
I hope you're correct about the decline, but I fear that you're being overly optimistic.

I've written about this, too. The less ageist you are, the less likely you are, when you get old, to suffer from dementia and pretty much all other age-related health issues, longitudinal studies show.

Ageism is often called ironic because it's a prejudice that the ageist young person will eventually be the target of -- if they're lucky. It's prejudice against one's own future self. But in this piece for the New Yorker, Tad Friend argues that's not ironic at all, it's the whole point. Ageism embodies buried fears about one's own decline and death.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/20/why-ageism-never-gets-old

Friend's article came out a month or two after mine. He used literally the exact same sources. Mine didn't end on quite such a bleak note, however.

Quote
As for commercials, I think you really need to look carefully at what is being sold, and to whom. Of course you're going to see happy, healthy, active older people if the product being sold is something supposed to keep older people healthy and active.

I remember a particular commercial (I think it was for Ensure) that featured an older couple driving down some highway in a convertible, healthy and happy--and using Ensure.

I work for the company that makes Ensure. Or rather, the Fortune 200 company that bought out the Fortune 500 company I started working for in 2014. Abbott's whole brand theme is "life to the fullest," so their commercials feature people doing things like finishing marathons, peaking Mt. Everest or at the very least just leaping into the air at the beach. (In addition to Ensure, they make baby formula and other health-related products.)

A retired former coworker (mid-60s, I'd guess)  got in a bike accident a while back. He's recovering, but he mentioned on Facebook that he'd been taking Ensure. I said, that's great because in no time you'll be finishing marathons, peaking mountains and leaping into the air at the beach. He said that coincidentally during the past year he had done all three of those things. I said, in that case you'd better lay off the Ensure, or you'll be taking up parkour and skateboarding in the X-games.

Boomers are ultra-sensitive to aging stereotypes ("Hope I die before I get old," sang Roger Daltrey, now 74). So they're helping "change the face of aging," which is actually an AARP slogan. They're more active, both physically and at work and other activities, than their predecessors.

However, they also may be heading toward a clash with younger generations over funding SS and Medicare.

Also, boomers are still "young old." The oldest turn 72 this year. People in their 60s and 70s can be quite vibrant and active. After 80 or 85, it's much more unusual. But we'll see.




Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 10:03:55 am »
I've written about this, too. The less ageist you are, the less likely you are, when you get old, to suffer from dementia and pretty much all other age-related health issues, longitudinal studies show.

I'm not sure I'm following this. Is it saying that the less ageist (less prejudiced against older people) you are when you are young, the less likely you are to suffer from age-related health issues when you get old? (I'm not disputing the point. I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.)

Quote
A retired former coworker (mid-60s, I'd guess)  got in a bike accident a while back. He's recovering, but he mentioned on Facebook that he'd been taking Ensure. I said, that's great because in no time you'll be finishing marathons, peaking mountains and leaping into the air at the beach. He said that coincidentally during the past year he had done all three of those things. I said, in that case you'd better lay off the Ensure, or you'll be taking up parkour and skateboarding in the X-games.

 :laugh:

But you're not really disputing my point about advertising, are you? I mean, if Abbott's brand is "life to the fullest," they're probably not going to show someone with Parkinson disease, walking with a cane and bent over with "dowager's hump."
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline CellarDweller

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2018, 07:26:29 pm »
It's funny that this thread is active today.

I wish I could find it online, but on the news at work today was footage of seniors competing in a 50 or 100m dash.  Those guys could still book it!

I laughed and said I wasn't gonna make fun, because if I was in that race with them now, they'd all beat me!


Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2018, 09:39:37 pm »
Thanks for that link, Katharine. Somehow I missed that article when it was published. There are a couple of things that stood out: Friend talks about seniors' mental health being better than twenty- or thirty-somethings'. I agree, looking back. I was terribly lonely and confused in my early years and now I have a sense of purpose and an inner calm.
May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2018, 09:42:52 am »
I'm not sure I'm following this. Is it saying that the less ageist (less prejudiced against older people) you are when you are young, the less likely you are to suffer from age-related health issues when you get old? (I'm not disputing the point. I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.)

Yes, there's a correlation between ageist attitudes and age-related health problems. The most famous research has been done by a Yale prof. named Becca Levy. If you scan her list of publications you'll get the idea: https://publichealth.yale.edu/people/becca_levy-2.profile

Quote
But you're not really disputing my point about advertising, are you? I mean, if Abbott's brand is "life to the fullest," they're probably not going to show someone with Parkinson disease, walking with a cane and bent over with "dowager's hump."

I'm not disputing your point; of course commercials involving health products for old people are going to show them being happy and active. But when Abbott bought St. Jude Medical, which is where I worked, the messaging became trickier. Because whereas Abbott makes products to enhance the lives of already reasonably healthy people, SJM makes therapies for more seriously ill people.

For example, SJM does make a product for Parkinson's. They drill a hole into the top of your skull, run some lead wires into your brain, affix them to a device that's implanted under your skin on your chest. The device generates electrical signals that causes the wire to stimulate specific areas of your brain.

Sounds gross, but its effect on Parkinson's is amazing. I've seen videos of people with the device who are either not shaking at all or are barely shaking. Then they turn off the device (it works wirelessly with an iphone-like controller). Suddenly their arm is jerking all over the place. People go from not being able to lift and drink a cup of coffee to living reasonably normal and active lives.

There's a similar product they implant in your spine to treat chronic, debilitating pain. It sends electrical pulses into your nervous system to block the pain signals from reaching your brain.

Another product they make is called an LVAD. It's a thing they give you to keep your heart pumping if you for some reason can't get a heart transplant. As you get close to needing it, you can't walk from the couch to the bathroom without stopping twice to rest. Eventually, you'd be dead.

People like that aren't exactly climbing Mt. Everest (although a coworker did see a guy at her gym with an LVAD -- it's a fairly bulky, noticeable device and you have to carry extra batteries around at all times). So for those ads, they might show people having coffee with a friend, or walking their dog, or celebrating a birthday or, at most, riding a bike. Something enjoyable, that they formerly wouldn't have been able to enjoy -- not performing some amazing athletic feat that most people can't even do in their 20s.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2018, 10:00:22 am »
Yes, there's a correlation between ageist attitudes and age-related health problems. The most famous research has been done by a Yale prof. named Becca Levy. If you scan her list of publications you'll get the idea: https://publichealth.yale.edu/people/becca_levy-2.profile

I'm not disputing your point; of course commercials involving health products for old people are going to show them being happy and active.

Thanks! Glad to know we understand each other.  :)

Quote
But when Abbott bought St. Jude Medical, which is where I worked, the messaging became trickier. Because whereas Abbott makes products to enhance the lives of already reasonably healthy people, SJM makes therapies for more seriously ill people.

Curious. Any connection to St. Jude's Medical Center, the hospital for kids with cancer for which Marlo Thomas raises money?
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline CellarDweller

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Re: On Ageism
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 05:40:44 pm »
Thanks for that link, Katharine. Somehow I missed that article when it was published. There are a couple of things that stood out: Friend talks about seniors' mental health being better than twenty- or thirty-somethings'. I agree, looking back. I was terribly lonely and confused in my early years and now I have a sense of purpose and an inner calm.


Purpose and inner calm is good!


Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!