Review of Wellbeing Indicators

Ageism and Attitudes to Ageing

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Ageism and Attitudes to Ageing

Attitudes towards older people in society have clear and important implications for positive ageing. The presence of negative attitudes towards older people in a society can affect access to services and facilities, and can leave older adults feeling insecure, socially isolated and excluded. In addition, older adults may internalise negative stereotypes, resulting in older adults perceiving themselves more negatively as they age. For example, they may believe that ageing is a time of inevitable physical and mental decline, and that it is not possible to remain healthy and active. These types of negative self-perceptions can make older adults less likely to engage in health promoting behaviours (Yeom, 2013), and also lead to withdrawal from social activities. Such perceptions may even turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people who perceive ageing as having negative consequences actually experience a sharper decline in physical function (Robertson, Savva, King-Kallimanis, & Kenny, 2015).

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