We Need to Fight Ageism in America
By Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C., attorney serving in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia
Ok, Boomer. Geezer. Geriatric. These are terms that I heard when I was younger, and now that I am at that age where my parents in my eyes were…I am now a part of that group. And I experience what is referred to as ageism.
Ageism is prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age. In America, ageism affects all matters of society. By 2030, the population number for the 65 and over group will be around 70 million, according to the US Census.
Ageism affects a person’s physical condition. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, those people who have a more positive self-perception will live over 7 years longer that those with negative self-perceptions of aging. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-832261.pdf
According to a recent AARP poll, One in five persons age 55 and over has experienced ageism, whether in the workplace, in a health care provider, or in a social situation. For those who are 50 years of age, the number increases to nearly 60 percent. https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2019/age-discrimination-in-america.html
The EEOC in 2017 received 18,000 complaints of discrimination as related to age. Many are related to discrimination from a health care provider.
Specifically, one in five Americans ages 50 and over experience over-treatment from a health care provider as a result of ageism. According to a study from Regis College, overtreatment costs between $150-230 billion every year. https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/why-ageism-in-health-care-is-a-growing-concern/
Surgery, Intensive care, overdiagnosis of benign or slow-growing tumors, unnecessary harm, such as urinary incontinence, overuse of tests and procedures without any benefits are just some of the examples of overtreatment that are a danger to our elderly population.
So how should we fight age discrimination? In short, seniors and or their loved ones need to be prepared. Engage with your older friends and loved ones in and nursing homes and assisted living facilities. If a loved one needs to visit a health care provider, plan in advance. For instance, many hospitals have specialized “acute care for elders” inpatient units, To find one, visit www.acep.org/geda, In addition, The Institute for Healthcare Improvement www.ihi.org, which recognizes 450 “age-friendly health systems” on its website.
As the median age of our nation’s population increases, so does the responsibility increase to care for those that came before us.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to negligence on the part of a health care provider, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey for a free consultation.
The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey
8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 810
McLean, VA 22102