By: Isabella De Iuliis (Fourth Year student in Aging and Health)

Ageism is discrimination against a person because of their age (Nelson, 2016). While ageism can be directed towards people of any age, it is most commonly directed towards seniors (Nelson, 2016). The ageism seniors face can have detrimental impacts on their physical health as well as emotional well-being (Kang, & Kim, 2022).

Case Illustration of Ageism #1 

Mr. and Mrs. Jones go to the shopping center in an attempt to find a birthday gift for their granddaughter. They were able to find a sweatshirt and a new pair of shoes, both on sale! However, when trying to pay for the items, they overheard the people behind them in line making comments about how slow Mr. and Mrs. Jones were being at the register. Then, once the sale was complete, Mrs. Jones noticed the sale price was not given to them. She politely asked the cashier to double-check the receipt, and rather than helping, the cashier suggested that Mrs. Jonesdid not understand simple math and told them she was wrong. This upset Mrs. Jones and she decided to do her own calculations, proving the cashier wrong.

Ageism targets seniors typically through pervasive stereotypes depicting them as fragile, mentally and physically slow, and technologically challenged. These ageist beliefs effectively ostracize seniors from society, impeding their capacity to be recognized as fully integrated members of the community (Smith, 2023). As seniors internalize society’s distorted impressions of them, these harmful stereotypes have a significant negative influence on their emotional well-being. Seniors’ self-worth and self-esteem can be damaged when they are repeatedly subjected to ageist stereotypes that depict them as helpless or unable. Internalizing unfavourable stereotypes can result in a vicious cycle of self-doubt and self-criticism, which can cause mental and emotional pain (Greenwood, 2020). Even more so, the impacts of ageism can extend from mental health to physical health, as seniors who believe they are weak or incompetent may be less likely to exercise or seek medical attention, which can result in a loss in general health and well-being (Greenwood, 2020).

Case Illustration of Ageism #2  

After getting home from the shopping center, Mrs. Joneswas very upset. She felt discriminated against because of her age and felt that because she physically looked older, the cashier assumed was mentally incapable of understanding. This took a toll on Mrs. Jones’ confidence and made her feel discouraged from questioning a cashier again about sale prices.

Ageism against seniors is a prevalent problem, with far-reaching consequences that society must band together to combat. An important aspect when fighting against ageism is advocating for a society that prioritizes and values respect for all persons, regardless of their age. This can be easily done through conversation with those around you, or with members of the aging community. Another way that is helpful in preventing ageism is to speak to seniors or aging persons with an age-neutral tone, avoiding any use of baby talk or disrespectful jargon.

Check out some of these resources below to learn how to further fight ageism!



Greenwood, M. (2020). Harmful effects of ageism on older persons’  health found in 45 countries. YaleNews. countries#:~:text=The%20Yale%20team%20found%20evidence,conditions%2C%20including%2sshorter%20life%20expectancy.

Kang, H., & Kim, H. (2022). Ageism and Psychological Well-Being Among Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Gerontology & geriatric medicine, 8, 23337214221087023.

Nelson, T. D. (2016). Ageism. Smith, M. A. (2023). Ageism and age discrimination.,and%20short%2Dterm%20health%20issues.