Aging and Disability Worksheet
Identify 2 or 3 issues faced by the aging population.
- Poor health
What is ageism? How does ageism influence the presence of diversity in society?
The most widely accepted definition of ageism is discrimination and prejudice against middle-aged and elderly people based on the belief that aging makes people less attractive, productive, sexual and intelligent. Coined by Robert Butler in 1969, ageism is the product of three elements: prejudicial mental state towards old age, elderlies, and the aging process; discriminatory customs against older people; and societal policies and practices that uphold stereotypes about elder people. The term was helped popularized by Maggie Kuhn during the 1970s. Ageism has highlighted the variability in the group in terms of capacities, characteristics and interests, and has influenced many researchers and institutions to study the intersecting and parallel diverse points in the stereotyped social group of older people to counter the negative stereotype associated with older people, aging and old age.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? How does the ADA address issues for the aging population?
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law enacted by the US Congress in 1990 that offers protection to all employees above 40 years of age from being fired from their respective employments due to their age and be replaced with younger employees who are alleged to be receiving much lower wages than the standard. In 1996, the Supreme Court has strengthened the parameters of the law, ruling anonymously that court cases can remain favorable even if the older employee is replaced with an another employee more than 40 years old. Therefore, according to the law any establishment that fires an employee beyond 60 years of age in favor for an employee above 40 years of age, the firm holds responsibility for committing age discrimination. ADA upholds the rights of elderly workers in the United States by protecting them against age and hiring discrimination in the workforce.
What is being done to address the issues you identified?
The three issues faced by the aging population as described by Judith Graham in her article are poverty, poor health and discrimination. The government has expanded health insurance coverage for American citizens above 60 years of age. The presence of affordable hospice care centers has also helped elderly people gain access to quality care given by certified health care professionals that specifically cater to their health needs. As for the poverty issue, ADA act preserves the employment rights of the older workers to continue to be financially productive in the workforce despite their increasing age. Discrimination remains a national issue and a lot of institutions are helping raise awareness of the positive stance accompanied in the social group through the use of print and media advertisements, documentaries, literature, and news stories promoting positive stereotype of older people.
Is the number of aging population expected to rise in numbers or decrease?
Yes, America is expected to experience a considerable growth of its older population between 2012 and 2050. In a report based on the 2012 Projections (a project conducted by U.S. Census Bureau), the estimated population of American residents aged 65 years and above in 2050 is 83.7 million, almost twice as many as the estimated 43.1 million population of the same age group back in 2012. The baby boomers or those people born between mid-1940s and mid-1960s are mainly held responsible for the increase of older population in the country. By the end of 2011, the baby boomers generation began turning 65. By the end of 2050, they are expected to be over 85 years of age.
What types of legislation may or may not be affected by the aging population?
The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (HCERA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are two of the legislations that affect the aging population in America. The Affordable Care Act, signed by Obama in 2010, offers medical and other health benefits for older American citizens. As the needs of the elderly social groups are identified and magnified, the law was modified to cater their concerns. At present, the said act provides older people with better, easily accessible and low cost medical care that is community-based and participant-centered. Meanwhile, HCERA ensures that all Americans in the country, including those in the elderly group, have equal access to affordable and premium health insurance. This act leaves the insurance options for the increasing older population positive and possible. As the needs of the aging population increase, these two legislations are expected to be amended to serve them better.
How does poverty affect the aging population?
Poverty does not excuse the older people from experiencing the devastating effects of an unstable economy in the country. When America hit rock bottom of its fiscal crisis, lots of small to medium enterprises have closed down, and large-scale firms have significantly reduced their number of employees, laying off employees nearing their retirement. Supreme Court does not consider laying off older people based on economic reasons as a form of discrimination. Older people are consumers too and they suffer hard from the consequences of crashing stock markets, high fuel prices and expensive goods in general. Older people, especially those who are not working anymore, are mainly dependent on their savings and retirement benefits. When these funds ran off, their options for financial help are scrimp.
What does the ADA provide for people with disabilities?
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects all American citizens from discrimination based on their disabilities. Through this law, any form of discrimination based on gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion and race against people with disabilities, both physical and mental, in all aspects of public life that includes employment, transportation, school, and all public and private areas open to the general public are considered grounds for civil lawsuits and are punishable by the law. This act has provided easy access for people afflicted with disabilities to justice against discriminations committed against them. The essence of the law relies on the principle that everyone, including people with disabilities, has the same civic rights and life opportunities in this country.
How have people with disabilities been treated in the past?
The historical perspectives of society towards people with disability are labeled as social outcasts. In the past, individuals with disabilities receive extremes of treatments and perception. While many welcome them with violence, rejection, ridicules, others simply do not care at all at the challenges people with disabilities experience in a society design for able citizens. While it is true that not everyone treat disabled individuals negatively, a large portion of the majority does not empathize with people with disabilities and their demanding situation. A simple effort of being a friend to someone who has a disability can be an unappealing idea because of the judgment of others and the discomfort such friendship can cause. People who do not have access to individuals with disabilities generally do not realize that people, despite their disability, are regular people, too. The lack of empathy is the cause why others are either marked by blithe unconcern or expresses unnecessary pity. Some people exaggerate feelings concerns towards disabled people, expressing pity instead of genuine understanding.
How has the attitude toward people with disabilities changed over time?
In the early Greeks and Romans period, deformity is considered an inferior trait, hence must be taken to unknown places. The early doctrines of Christian practices indicate that people with disability are possessed with evil spirits and must be subjected to exorcising. The rise of Darwinism in the 19th century marked the idea that the progress of individuals with disabilities and deformities was a hindrance to the process of natural selection, hence altering the survival of fittest or best in the society. Past studies show that the treatment of people with disabilities also vary by culture. For an instance, some communities completely ostracize members with disabilities, while other communities grant them special privileges for having disabilities. Others also noted that in some communities disabled people are tolerated and dealt by families until their death. At present, people with disabilities are awarded with respect, tolerance and are encouraged to participate to their fullest capacity in the society.
What are some unique circumstances or issues encountered by people with disabilities?
People with disabilities have always piqued interests from strangers, society and even within their own families. Their obvious (and sometimes not so obvious in the naked eye, such as hearing and speaking deficits) differences set a string of emotions like pity, curiosity, impatience, frustration and discomfort. More often than not, individuals with disabilities, once exposed to the general public, are not seen as human beings anymore. Instead, they are seen as figures in need of emotional assistance, financial aid, and societal tolerance and understanding. This form of treatment can suffocate and lower the self-esteem of individuals with disabilities. Although the society has become more welcoming and kinder to disabled people, ignorance of their skills, capabilities and intelligence has the same if not more detrimental effect to their overall emotional and mental state. People with disabilities need to be treated with respect, and others must recognize that they are equals.
What is being done to address those issues?
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has an ongoing campaign hat children with disabilities should not be marginalized, and should be cared and treated like any other children. Having a disability should not alter the perception of able persons towards disabled individuals. This campaign set out to assist children with disabilities living in poor countries get appropriate health care and medical assistance such as vitamin supplements. The U.S. Department of Labor and Office of Disability Employment have combined efforts in a project called Campaign for Disability Employment that reaches out to employers and other key figures in the workforce to get rid of their personal stigma among disabled individuals and recognize their potentials as employees. This project facilitates equal economic and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and be recognized for what they can contribute to the workplace.
What types of legislation have been introduced to address issues faced by people with disabilities?
The Fair Housing Amendments Act has included people with disabilities and their families to have equal opportunity to accessible housing. This enables disabled individuals with families to have access to public funding initially intended for private and public multifamily housing with four or more units. This act opens the opportunity for the first time for all people with disability the possibility of having their own houses in the open market supported by the government. 1990 was a historical year for disability supporters because then President George Bush ordained Americans with Disabilities Act that aims to empower, protect and upholds the human rights of all Americans with disabilities. This act made impact on the global scene as well because other nations have followed the actions of America, setting an example to the world as a country that recognizes equal rights and opportunities among its citizens.