Title of Activity: Videos Defining and Describing Ageism Toward Older Adults
Designed by: Sheri R. Levy, Stony Brook University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested Courses: High School, Undergraduate, Graduate Courses; Any Psychology Course
“Age-ism” toward older adults was introduced as a “serious national problem” in a landmark article by Robert N. Butler in 1969. Since then, the far-reaching negative consequences of ageism toward older adults (stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination) and society continue to be documented (WHO, 2021). Even so, ageism toward older adults is relatively under-studied compared to other “isms,” and consequently ageism toward older adults is not covered or minimally covered in textbooks, even in social psychology courses, which tend to have at least a chapter on stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Ageism toward older adults is pervasive and institutionalized in the U.S. and other countries such as in the birthday card and gift industry that pokes fun of old age and in the widespread skincare treatment industry that aims to “fight” the appearance of aging. The “Ageism and Intersectionality Scavenger Hunt” activity can help raise awareness about ageism toward older adults embedded in society. The “Fact or Fiction: Take a Facts on Aging Quiz” exercise can help bring attention to students’ accurate knowledge about aging as well as awareness of the origins and scope of the potential miseducation about aging from the social and mass media. Given that ageism toward older adults is not well-covered in psychology textbooks, this teaching tip involves showing videos about ageism to help bridge that gap for instructors who wish to infuse ageism and aging content into their course but have little time to do so and/or background in ageism research. Depending on time constraints and the goals of the instructor, the instructor can have students view the videos before class or use class time to have students view the videos. The instructor can have students prepare a reaction piece to the videos or have students discuss their reactions to the videos during class time.
There are an increasing number of excellent videos available free of charge that define and describe ageism toward older adults. The Taking Ageism Seriously web-based resource includes a growing collection of links to videos defining ageism (Levy, 2021; https://takingageismseriously.org/). The following two video links are highlighted below in part because these videos have been shown in experimental studies with young adults to reduce agreement with ageism and negative stereotypes about older adults (Lytle et al., 2021):
“Imagine a World Without Ageism” by the EveryAGE Counts Coalition: https://www.everyagecounts.org.au/ and “Millennials Show Us What ‘Old’ Looks Like: Disrupt Aging” by the American Association of Retired Persons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYdNjrUs4NM.
Citation for This Activity:
Levy, S.R. (2021). Videos Defining and Describing Ageism Toward Older Adults Activity. In S.R. Levy (Ed.). Taking Ageism Seriously. https://takingageismseriously.org/
Butler, R. N. (1969). Age-ism: Another form of bigotry. The Gerontologist, 9 (4; Pt. 1), 243-246. doi:10.1093/geront/9.4_Part_1.243
Levy, S.R. (2021, initial launch). Taking Ageism Seriously. https://takingageismseriously.org/
Lytle, A., Macdonald, J., Apriceno, M., & Levy, S.R. (2021). Reducing ageism with brief videos about aging education, ageism, and intergenerational contact. The Gerontologist, 61(7), 1164-1168. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnaa167
Source: Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay (#2233656)