The following is taken from an excerpt delivered at the top of the hour on Senior Agenda on 1/16/14. The views and opinions expressed here represent those of talk show host Lisa Stockdale. Lisa is a senior advocate and is committed to addressing all issues that effect seniors. Your comments are welcomed. We reserve the right to remove comments which utilize excessive profanity or hate speech.
Strike Two - Earlier this week, I blogged about a commercial that perpetuates age discrimination but very few people seem to care. That particular blog has received about 80% fewer views than our typical posts. The commercial depicts a man searching for a hotel deal on his laptop while riding his mother's stairlift because he "can't afford to waste a second" looking for hotel deals. Meanwhile, his elderly mother struggles to climb the stairs as he whizzes by without demonstrating a hint of concern. His wife apparently shares in his callous attitude as she stands at the top of the stairs conversing with him without any regard for the elderly woman's safety. When did it become socially acceptable to ridicule the disabled? Do you suppose more people would take an interest if the person stranded on the stairs was a disabled veteran or a quadriplegic child? I certainly hope that those depictions would draw criticism. But it is only an old woman whose mobility has been compromised and so it goes unnoticed.
Strike Three - It was widely reported today that federal and state regulators have shut down a multimillion-dollar scam targeting seniors. Bravo!!! That is awesome news. What left me shaking my head was this comment offered by the Federal Trade Commission regional director: "You call enough older consumers and you will find someone with dementia or Alzheimer's. These people knew they were dealing with people who weren't all there and they took their money." Really? Did you just say that aloud? Seniors were targeted for the same reasons that seniors are always targeted; They have resources, strong credit ratings, live alone and are generally too trusting. That's not quite the same as because they are demented now is it? The report goes on to say that the scammers operated under more than a dozen corporate names, employed more than 100 people and "appeared organized specifically to evade law enforcement." Read the full story here. In fact, the Better Business Bureau warned consumers about the scam six months ago, so it took the police at least that long to shut it down. Read full story here. . That being said, I am hoping this was indeed a sophisticated operation that did not need to rely on seniors suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's to be successful.
Ageism has been defined as the tendency to regard older people as debilitated or unworthy of attention. It also includes stereotyping and discrimination based on age. Popular messages about aging lead to disrespectful behavior towards seniors and the marginalization of seniors. All seniors are not the same. Moreover, most seniors are mentally and physically capable with much to offer.