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What is one example of ageism that you have witnessed in healthcare?

Ageism can be split into three dimensions: cognitive (stereotype), emotional (prejudice), and behavioral (discrimination). The agism that I had experienced was based on a stereotype. I remember when I was in the hospital, I witnessed some older patients complaining of pain in their bones. However, some nurses and doctors tend to think that’s normal. The problem of pain can be easily dismissed based on the signs and symptoms. Sometimes, the older patients only tell the healthcare professionals how they feel with the pain, instead of describing the pain specifically. Some nurses often see that as a sign of aging and don’t ask further questions about the pain. Not just that, but the doctors might not try their hardest to diagnose or run tests on the patients as well.

Another example I have seen was that during covid, the younger generation created a message called “stay home and protect your grandmother”. This message could be quite misleading. Although older people have more risks getting covid, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be as strong and healthy as younger generations. Everyone should take the precautions seriously, but not just the older generations.

How do you think ageism affects older adults?

Agism belief can influence older adults’ daily activities, healthcare trials, and health outcomes. Such as, older adults are seen as helpless and unwanted populations and even forced to retire early. Furthermore, it can also develop psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

What do you think nurses can do to stop ageism in healthcare settings?

In my opinion, nurses should treat everyone equally and form every patient a general care approach. Nurses should not define a patient by his or her age. Instead, they should see him or her as a sick patient. No matter what the patient’s age is, the nurses should always ask them to rate the pain, describe the pain, and assess the pain. Do not assume everything is just based on the patients’ signs and symptoms.

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