Why an ageism in healthcare campaign?

Ageism impacts our health.

Studies show that ageism has real impacts on health. “Older adults who experienced more forms of ageism were also more likely to have a chronic health condition.” Many people have even internalized ageism, making them less likely to seek care. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed ageism, with real consequences in how we’ve responded, and dire consequences for older adults living in care facilities.

Ageism impacts quality of healthcare.

Healthcare professionals, like anyone else, can have their own biases about older adults that affect treatment. For instance, older patients have been found to be under-treated for pain compared to younger adults. Ageism impacts communication. Some providers talk down to older adults or speak only to their family members

Ageism in healthcare also costs money.

Being sick is expensive and ageism makes people sick. A 2013 study estimated the one-year cost associated with ageism’s influence in major diseases at $63 billion.

Take Action

The good news is that there are things we can do about this, both as individuals and healthcare professionals.

Individuals

  • Learn about ageism. You can start with our resources on ageism and our blog.
  • Examine your own internalized ageist assumptions.
  • Talk to your healthcare providers if you have concerns.
  • Spread the word.

Healthcare professionals

  • Learn about ageism. You can start with our resources on ageism and our blog.
  • Check your own assumptions and stereotypes based on age.
  • Practice better communication – no elderspeak and communicate directly with the patient.
  • Support early educational experience with older adults for healthcare professionals.

Want to read more about ageism in healthcare? Get our paper on ageism in healthcare. (LINK TO COME)
Want to hear more? Schedule a presentation.