You wouldn’t want someone judging your friends based on their race or gender, but sometimes age-stereotypes can be just as harmful. New research is now showing that seniors and young people actually have a lot more in common than you might have originally thought, which could mean some grand strides in terms of anti-aging stigmas.
The Anti-Aging Study – Why are the Stereotypes There?
The University of Alberta, Canada, conducted a very interesting study that showed how judgement actually goes both ways pretty equally when it comes to the elderly and their much more youthful counterparts.
The study, whose findings were presented to the British Society of Gerontology, looked at 15 seniors and an equal number of younger students. They were asked a number of questions regarding anti-aging, as well as their general attitudes and social well-being. The study participants varied in age from a youthful 21 all the way up to age 85.
What could have been most refreshing about the study, was that when the groups of people were combined, both appeared to understand, and want to come to a common conclusion for a way to break down age related stereotypes.
A couple of the main issues that appeared to keep coming up near the beginning of the study, before the two age groups were merged were as follows:
One of the most common age stereotypes in the older age group fell under dependency issues. The common belief that seniors are a burden to society is not only harmful, and hurtful, but the negative connotations on society are extreme.
One of the negative stereotypes that kept coming up to do with the more youthful age group had to do with their lack of work-ethic. This is harmful because it gives the impression of the future being left in unsafe hands.
However, the stereotypes only appeared at the beginning of the study. Once participants were put together as a group and observed, the opinions changed significantly.
U of A researchers noticed that after the group exercise the seniors and the more youthful group appeared to have a much better relationship and understanding. Researchers say that it is important that these two age groups become united as it builds a mutual respect which can have impressive implications, not only on further anti-aging efforts, but on the state of society in a social capacity moving forward.
Bridging the Divide Between Seniors and the More Youthful Population
U of A researchers said “Negative stereotypes about youths and seniors cause an artificial divide and fear of the other generation.” They say bridging the divide between the older and more youthful populations is important for the future, for a variety of reasons, and the research helped to lend some understanding and awareness to why age stigma’s exist.