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United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia

Words to think about as we enter this new year.....

Posted over 2 years ago by James F. Lawrence

Happy New Year to all UAPRN members and followers!

As we enter this new year, I have included this link on my most passionate topic......ageism. In an effort to engage our members with one another from around the state and to objectively discuss issues of the day, in 2016, I will be posting such discussions as this. I would like our members to reply to these postings as all of my efforts over the past three years to do so have been met unsuccessfully.

Please view the link at and tell me what you think of it. According to the current literature, ageism is our nation's third type of prejudice- behind racism and sexism. However, it is the one form of prejudice that many in society continue to encounter and do nothing about it.

First, allow me to define ageism. The link does a great job in defining this. It is a form of discrimination and prejudice, particularly experienced by seniors. Most seniors are mentally and physically active regardless of age with a great deal to contribute. However, societal norms marginalize seniors, treat them with disrespect, make them feel unwelcome and otherwise generalize as if they were all the same.

Examples include:

  • Late night comedians and talk show hosts who often joke about seniors and memory loss; or
  • Practitioners who often talk past the senior patient to an adult child as if the senior wasn't even in the room; or
  • Younger adults who mock seniors for being "slow"; or
  • Commercial advertisements depicting seniors as out of date, and lacking knowledge about modern culture and new technologies; or
  • Certain laws and regulations that are paternalistic towards seniors and limit their choices; or
  • The cosmetic industry who tells our society daily of how we should fight aging, thus, sending us indirectly, negative messages toward aging or lastly;
  • One that I will admit that I was guilty of but now express my disapproval to the vendor when seeing-birthday cards depicting older adults negatively, thus perpetuating ageism!

Ageism robs seniors of choice, independence, dignity and negatively impacts their quality of life.

Most of us would never all the use of such pejorative terms involving race or gender. However, if we really listen and watch more closely, it amazes me how much ageism is set in to our everyday culture. This is why I believe ageism is our most dangerous form of bigotry and discrimination as all of us either have personally experienced it or will one day experience it ourselves.

Now, before everyone gets defensive on a topic such as discrimination, I would encourage feedback from anyone. Have you personally experienced ageism? Am I making to much of an issue out of ageism? Do you believe it happens today? Who is honest enough to share a personal experience in which they were guilt of ageism but now, have been made aware of it's subversive and dangerous effects" What do you do when you hear such ageist comments such as "...Oh gandma is back in to see us today and she is a train wreck"? Is this video accurate of the American society?

Your comments would be very appreciated.

James F. Lawrence, Ph.D. APRN BC CPS CHPN FAANP

State UAPRN President


Cheryl Garcia over 2 years ago

That was a powerful, thought-provoking video James. Thanks for posting it and for your message re: ageism.

Cheryl Garcia, RN, MS, NP, LNC

Kelly Heard over 2 years ago

Very thought provoking. In Asian cultures, the aging are respected and honored for their wisdom and experience, but the American attitude toward the aging is almost dismissive. Our population is getting older and we all will age--how do we want to be treated? I am guilty of talking past an elderly patient to the family in the room. I will make every effort not to do that anymore. Kelly Heard, MSN, FNP-C

lee lindsey over 2 years ago

Compassion and understanding for patients (and people in general) is important throughout the age spectrum. Family dynamics and cultural dynamics largely impact how we treat others. I feel that less emphasis should be placed on specific types of 'isms' and more emphasis should be placed on striving to respect the individual circumstances concerning each person we are interacting with. All lives matter and every opinion counts; let's help each other want to live lives that matter and express opinions we want counted :-)

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