According to the World Health Organization, negative attitudes toward the elderly have negative effects on their physical and mental health.
60% of respondents in the context of the World Values Survey analyzed by the World Health Organization estimate that elderly people are not respected. More than 83,000 people have responded to the survey conducted in 57 countries among all age groups.
The higher the income of a country, the stronger the degree of compliance is low. “This analysis confirms that ageism is an extremely common practice, yet most people are unaware of the stereotypes they unconsciously maintain against older people,” says John Beard, Director of the Aging and Quality of life Department at the WHO. “As for sexism and racism, it is possible to change social norms. It is time to stop defining people based on their age and the result will be more prosperous, equitable and healthy societies.”
Negative attitudes towards aging and older people also have a major impact on the physical and mental health of the elderly. Those who think they are a burden to others also perceive their lives as having less weight, which puts them at risk of depression and social isolation. Researches published recently show that older people who have a negative view of their own aging do not recover as well and live on average 7.5 years less than those who have a positive attitude.
By 2025, the number of people aged 60 and over is expected to double and reach two billion by 2025. Low-income countries will see the biggest increase. “Ageism may take many forms, especially when the media portrays older people as frail, dependent and outdated. It is also discriminatory practices such as rationing health care based on age or institutional policies such as mandatory retirement starting from a certain age, “says Alana Officer, Coordinator of the Aging and Quality of Life department.