A surprising proportion of older people say ‘yes.’
In fact, one in three say they feel they’ve been mistreated because of their age, according to a recent study published in Research on Aging.
Even more troubling, the effects of this perceived discrimination results in more depression and lower ratings of self-reported health, reports the New York Times.
The study looked at the link between perceived discrimination and physical and emotional health among nearly 6,400 older adults, all older than 53, from 2006 to 2008.
Lead author Ye Luo, a Clemson University sociologist, says that 63 percent of these adults reported they had experienced discrimination — because of things like race, gender, disability, income or appearance — and 30 percent reported being mistreated because of their age.
Of greater concern to researchers was that this perceived discrimination made older adults feel more depressed and more likely to rate their health lower.
After controlling for general stress, like financial problems or chronic illnesses, the researchers found that everyday slights and suspicions took a greater toll on older adults’ health.
While people have ways to cope with major crises, Luo said, the daily affronts that are harder to control or avoid can be more detrimental to a person’s sense of well-being.
In other words, age discrimination can undermine the older population’s health — a result that hurts everyone.
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