Why an ageism in healthcare campaign?

Ageism impacts our health

Studies show that ageism leads to significantly worse health outcomes. Many people have internalized ageism, making them less likely to seek care. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed ageism. Decision making protocols specified treating younger people before older people in hospitals and there were dire consequences for older adults living in nursing homes.

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. Ageism impacts communication. Some providers use “elderspeak” and talk down to older adults or speak only to their care partners.

Ageism in healthcare costs money

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

This is just the beginning. Check coverage of our ageism in healthcare campaign in Next Avenue and stay tuned for more!

Take Action on Ageism in Healthcare

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

Age-Friendly Healthcare Quick Guide – This quick guide is for both individuals and healthcare providers. It gives examples of challenges we all face and ideas about what to do about them.

Advocate for Your Health: Even with good intent, healthcare providers sometimes say something ageist. This guide gives some specific examples of how to respond to ageist questions or statements from your healthcare provider.

Age-Friendly Healthcare Campaign Resources – This is a list of academic and other sources that go into deeper detail about topics related to the impact of ageism and healthcare.

healthcare provider and patient​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.
  • Provide educational opportunities for early healthcare professionals to interact with older adult patients.

Want to read more? Download our paper on ageism in healthcare
Want to hear more? Schedule a presentation.

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