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The Negative Perceptions of Aging in our Society

In other words, the elderly begin to behave in the same ways that many people perceive them, whether or not it is the case in reality. Another social phenomenon that is exacerbated by these types of negative stereotypes is elderly abuse. Similar to child abuse, elders are at risk for abuse by stressed-out or uncaring children, relatives or even friends. Yet, these conditions persist in society even though, unlike children, most elderly Americans are independent, financially secure and capable of taking care of themselves. Still, the elderly are often treated like children. They are often ridiculed, blamed, and mistreated not only by family members but also by the medical community and others whose job it is to help them. Since negative perceptions of the elderly are learned, despite evidence to the contrary, it is not surprising that perceptions of well-being among the elderly are also related to social phenomenon, “Among the older population, well-being is strongly and positively related to health, socioeconomic circumstances, social interaction, martial status, and living situation. On the other hand, gender and race show no consistent independent relationship to well-being among older people. For older persons living in the United Sates, health, wealth, and love are the primary sources of happiness; education, occupational status, marital status, availability of transportation, housing, and social interaction are also related to their perceptions of well-being” (Mookherjee 72).

One of the most common types of abuse against the elderly, even though other forms of abuse like physical, emotional and sexual do occur, is financial abuse. Many times the elderly are taken advantage of in a financial way, but the abusers are not the commonly perceived door-to-door or telephone scam artists. All too often it is friends or distant relatives who financially abuse the elderly. Care givers who inadequately deal with stress are a...

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