Aging: A Stereotype
This week I am writing about a topic that not only affects those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but the older population, as a whole, as well. I am talking about negative stereotypes. Not all stereotypes are negative, but it seems that much of the time when it comes to older adults the stereotypes tend to be more negative than positive.
With my background being in gerontology I have seen many sides to aging, especially because I have a high interest in those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I have seen people upwards of ninety still very active and fit while on the flip side I have seen people in their sixties bed ridden and everything in between. Some people may choose to continue to take education classes, while other take fitness classes or they may volunteer. Aging can take shape in a variety of ways and the fact remains that everyone doesn’t age in the same way.
I have heard people say they don’t want to spend time with older adults because they perceive them all to have Alzheimer’s or dementia, this is far from the truth, but if you don’t spend time around older adults you may not know that. The key to ending this and other negative stereotypes associated with aging is awareness. Often times I don’t think people are aware of negative stigmas they may be portraying when it comes to aging. Whether it is media outlets or advertisements for stores or restaurants, I think people’s possible perceptions should be taken into account and utilizing negative stigmas should try to be avoided.
As Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” I think that this is a very true statement and if you take a look at the older adults around you, even those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you’ll see this as well.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.