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Older Worker, Are You An Ageist?

Recently, in a workshop I led that was attended by older people, I said "raise your hand it you practise ageism". No one raised their hands. I then said " raise your hand if you say things like "I'm too old to...; "I'm having a senior's moment"; "My age is making me forgetful"; "I don't want to hang around with old people." Everyone raised their hands.

A teracher pointing to a student with a hand up.
Older workers enjoy learning how to prepare for working in retirement

Older workers, the participants in the workshop admitted to practising "internalized ageism", which simply means negative ageism beliefs we have about ourselves or others in our age group.

Older workers, getting rid of this type of ageism can help you to have a more meaningful retirement. And studies conclude that people live longer and have less chance of developing dementia when this type of belief stops. You can start overcoming internalized ageism so you're inspired, motivated and optimistic about having a healthy and fulfilling retirement, by practising these steps:

Change the Words:  When someone calls you "dear"or "sweetie", tell them, politely, that you prefer not to be called that.

Change the Style: When someone talks to you in  “elderspeak”, which includes using simple words, speaking loudly and slowly, ask them to speak to you in a normal manner.

Be Your Own Role Model: Think of older people you admire; they can be anyone - actors, grandparents, your kids, friends, the person who runs the local coffee shop. Analyze their strong, positive qualities. Then.....

Build Yourself Up: Compare those qualities to yours, after you make a list of all of the strengths and skills you've developed during your life; don't be humble.

Watch Your Own Behaviour: Be respectful with others; instead of saying "wow, your new hairstyle knocks 10 years off your age" just say "I really like your new hairstyle"; instead of sending someone a card that depicts older people in a negative way, send them one with a happy and uplifting message.

Research: There is a lot of information about internalized ageism. The Vancouver Public Library has many books about aging and ageism, in both hard copy and e-book format.

A group of older people doing yoga and smiling
Older people can enjoy retirement when they know their value

Work with On Your Own Time: If internalized ageism is holding you back from pursuing employment in your retirement, come to one of our free, fun and interactive workshops. Topics include:

  • resume preparation

  • interview techniques

  • job search strategies

Contact us if you'd like to attend or if you'd like more information.

Older workers, take 58 minutes to view this interesting video that discusses internalized ageism in a simple and straighforward way.

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