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Understanding Ageism

Myths and negative stereotypes about the elderly population have negative effects on the assessment and treatment of elderly clients. The most common untrue myths are that most aged individuals are irritable, angry, or unhappy; that older drivers have more vehicle accidents compared to younger drivers; that most live alone; or that aged individuals are more likely than younger people to be victims of crime (Palmore, 2005).

A human services worker's attitude toward the elderly can negatively affect his/her treatment of elderly clients. The degree to which a human services worker can be free of such stereotypes against the elderly will improve the care the client will receive.

Use the Internet, your textbook, and the Argosy University online library resources to research ageism.

The Age Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures the degree to which humans prefer young versus old faces. Take the IAT test at the following link: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/
Read the article by Palmore, "Three decades of research on ageism," at the following link:
http://libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=afh&AN=19399890&site=ehost-live
Use the IAT test results to answer each of the following questions. Give reasons for your responses using the findings of the article, "Three decades of research on ageism," in support.
What did the website indicate was your outcome? Did you have a strong or weak preference for young faces?
What have you learned about your own biases and how to decrease them, if necessary?
Suppose a human services worker has IAT results indicating a very strong preference for young faces and also has a likely corresponding tendency toward age discrimination. What steps could he/she take to lower the tendency toward age discrimination in order to be a more effective provider of services to elderly clients? Give at least two steps.
Write your initial response in a minimum of 350 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

Solution Preview

Outcome

When I took the Implicit Association Test, I can safely say that I was a little surprised at the results. I would normally consider myself fair, someone who tries to be neutral and avoid biases when I make decisions for my personal and professional life. But when I associated 'old' to 'unpleasant', it appeared that I might have negative biases against aging, or prefer to associate or listen to people that are likely not as old/elderly as I deem to be unpleasant. I was disturbed about it as I don't consider myself to be biased against old people. For instance, I look forward always to visiting my grandparents and sharing my life with them. We often get together because of my concern for them. They are already in that stage in their lives where they need all that extra help just to get by.

Reflection

Again, the results showed that I am biased against aging. I never ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines understanding ageism for human services.

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