Navigating Ageism & Finding Purpose

Navigating Ageism & Finding Purpose

What is Ageism?

Ageism, similarly to racism & sexism is a term used to describe how we think, feel & act towards another based off a characteristic of an individual. In this instance, ageism is related to the age of a person & treating them unfairly because of this.

Many of us will experience discrimination within our lifetime for something that is outside of our control. Here we will be discussing

The Impact of Ageism in the United Kingdom

Ageism within the UK is a serious issue that is leading to a serious impact on both the mental & physical health of many older adults within England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

Ageism can affect everyone, and we can pick up on our cultures attitude towards older adults from as young as 4 years old, based off research done by the World Health Organisation.

Keeping a level head in the face of Ageism

When we are direct conflict with ageism, we need to understand that our feelings are completely natural & experiencing a bias from something that is out of our control is not OK. However we should not fly off the handle when we are challenged & give a disproportionate response, as that could put us into the wrong.

We should take some time to reflect on the situation at hand, is there something larger at stake if we do not address the problem?

An individual may be resorting to discrimination because of their own ignorance or lack of experience within life. A large amount of discrimination within life comes from a lack of understanding & confirmation biases that has been experienced by an individual from their own lives.

People of all ages have had their own experiences in life, and we as individuals will not be able to relate to them all. An individuals ageism may have come from a negative experience with an older person from their past or from a bias that has been ingrained into them from the people around them & society as a whole.

Keeping a level head when experiencing discrimination of any kind is a good idea & a reasonable response is good to ensure that it is known that the discrimination in question will not be tolerated by you or by the people around you.

To quote HelpGuide: “Despite what ageist messages might suggest, you still have plenty of life in you and many opportunities ahead. You also have much to offer those around you, whether it’s love, support, or wisdom.”

The Value & Wisdom of Older Adults

With age comes experience & wisdom. Older adults have the ability to bring so much to the table with their opinions & perspectives on things from their past experiences. We need to not second guess anyone based off their age so that we can take these life lessons with us into the future.

Finding Purpose within Later Life

When we retire we experience a large transition in our lives. Society does not expect us to work & whilst we have earned that right, many of us whilst living that reality may deep down not feel like we have.

We need to remember that when you are retired, you are free to pursue anything that you would like to. From a new hobby or interest to honing skills & talents, starting that new project & getting connected to clubs & those in our communities are the best paths to finding purpose & fulfillment within your later years.

The Right Mindset for Lifelong Learning

The ability to be an eternal student is a highly undervalued one in today’s society. By pursuing knowledge & understanding within your hobbies, interests & in social situations older adults can keep their minds sharp whilst improving mental health & self worth.