Ageism Growing Problem - How to Deal with Ageism Today

If you are over 50 or look older, you have heard age jokes - or worse. Ageism is real. The 'ok boomer' attitude makes it harder to navigate today's world.

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Ageism Growing Problem - How to Deal with Ageism Today
4 Min Read June 13th, 2021

More people every day turn age 60, and the population of those aged 50+ continues to grow. The AARP says one in every five workers in the United States is over the age of 55, yet experts tell us we are not embracing the aging population as we should.

If you are over 60, or even look like you are, you may have already experienced that "old geezer" attitude that exists in the United States and much of Europe. You may have heard about or seen the "ok boomer" hashtag being used on social media. "Ok boomer" is a viral internet slang phrase used that calls out or dismisses what is perceived by younger people as out-of-touch or closed-minded opinions associated with the baby boomer generation and older people more generally. 

Social media can be harsh! However, 50-year-old golfer Phil Mickelson's recent PGA tour win is casting light on the fact that life does not end at age 50. Phil Mickelson is now the oldest golfer to win a major. 

Most Experience Ageism

A research survey shows most people aged 60 and over experience some form of ageism. The survey said almost 80% said they experienced ageism--like people assuming they had memory or physical impairments because of their age.

We have elected Presidents that are older (Reagan, Trump, and Biden), but all of us have heard jokes about their age. It is hard enough to deal with your own changes in health and body because of your age, but when people assume you or a loved one is incapable or limited just because of age, it is hurtful and wrong.

ADEA Protects You from Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against those over age 40. The law prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment (hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment). It also makes it unlawful to harass a person of his or her age.

Harassment does not mean simple teasing; however, any offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's age that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision is unlawful.

Yet, as we know, it happens. People who look old, are over age 50, or reference activities, music, or events that would place them as being 'old' can pigeonhole a person.

Overcome Ageism

The website Everyday Health recommends several ways to overcome ageism. They include speaking up and surrounding yourself with younger people. If you seem like you’re the only adult in the room, coworkers will see the wealth of experience and knowledge you have as long as you hold your ground. 

If you are retired remaining active and engaged with life will also help. Our society, unlike others, does not automatically value the experience and knowledge older people offer. 

Be sure not to allow health care professionals, including doctors, to dismiss your concerns. It is reported that some doctors will disregard things that an older adult will say.

Ageism in Health Care Is Real

An analysis of National Health and Retirement study data found that one in five adults over age 50 experience age-related discrimination in health care, and one in seventeen said it was frequently. The results of this bias are often associated with new or worsening disability, poorer mental and physical health, and the use of fewer preventive health services.

A Liz Seegert article on the NBC News website suggests that ageist doctors are harming older patients. Without changes in medical training and attitudes as the country ages, she says that more and more of us will be at risk when we seek care.

Don't think that ageism means you can ignore real changes in health, body, and mind that occur as they get older. Many of these changes increase our need for long-term health care services, and those costs are very expensive.

Long-Term Health Care Prevalent and Expensive

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows that costs can exceed $100,000 a year depending on the amount of care you require and location, with nursing homes costing the most. Most care is delivered at home, which costs less, but without planning, the role of caregiver often falls on a daughter or daughter-in-law. 

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is one of the best ways to plan. The time to prepare is before you retire, ideally in the 40s or 50s. You can avoid dependency and stay in control of your care and your assets. In addition, your family will have time to be family. 

Find a qualified and licensed specialist to help you find the right options. Aging is something natural and to be proud of. You earned respect. You should stand up for that respect. However, it does require planning because the consequences impact not only you but your savings, lifestyle, and legacy - not to mention your family.

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About the Author

Linda Maxwell is a retired journalist who now focuses on writing about topics that captivate her, such as aging, health, long-term care, and retirement issues. Her aim is to maintain an active and engaged mind, and through her writing, she hopes to help others stay positively engaged with life.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Your health and budget are tied together. As you age, you should be concerned about the growing cost of long-term health care. Changes in health, mobility, and memory lead to a need for long-term care, and those costs can be significant. 

There is now an additional concern for new taxes to address the pressure on each state's Medicaid budgets. The State of Washington has already implemented the so-called LTC Tax on residents without qualified Long-Term Care Insurance in place. Several other states are pursuing their own LTC Tax, including:

  • California
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii 
  • Missouri 
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Utah 

If you live in one of those states, you should consider taking proactive action to at least avoid the tax. The tax would be placed on 100% of earned income. The primary benefit of Long-Term Care Insurance is to protect your 401(k) and other assets from rising long-term health care expenses. Avoiding a tax is an added bonus.

Find Professional Help When Shopping for LTC Coverage

Long-Term Care Insurance comes in various types and options. In accordance with Section 7702(b) of U.S. Code, tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies include significant consumer protections, regulated benefit triggers, and tax incentives. However, many general insurance agents and financial advisors lack proper training on these products, underwriting, and policy design.

In addition, residents of certain states who don't own a qualified LTC Insurance policy are subject to a tax. To navigate the numerous options, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Additionally, a specialist can assist you in discovering the most cost-effective option based on your age, health, and family history.

Locate a specialist you can rely on who has dealt with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims - Work With a Specialist.

Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

There is a lot of misinformation or incorrect information about long-term health care planning on the internet. Not every insurance agent or financial advisor has the expertise to assist you with long-term care planning. LTC NEWS can help.

The  Frequently Asked Questions section of LTC NEWS addresses the most frequently asked issues concerning long-term health care planning.

You can find all the resources available on LTC NEWS right here - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.

The cost of long-term health care services is rapidly increasing. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator provides you with the actual and projected costs of care services where you reside.

Curious how much Long-Term Care Insurance costs? Learn more here - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

How About Elderly Parents?

If your older parents or family members are declining and need help now, what can you do to help? You can get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether or not they have an LTC policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

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