Who’s “Really” Old?: Addressing Shifting Targets of Ageism through Intragroup and Intergroup Perceptions of Aging

Ageist stereotypes are pervasive in Western culture. In light of the Stereotype Content Model (SCM), results of empirical work suggest that young individuals often perceive older adults as warm but as less competent than themselves. Although ageism is well understood in terms of intergroup group perceptions (i.e., young adults toward older adults), few studies have addressed how ageist stereotypes are manifested among older adults. The question is of great relevance in the face of increased longevity and the still powerful “successful/active” aging paradigms whereby the very old may be stigmatized. The goal of the current study is precisely to better understand how young individuals perceive older adults but also how older adults perceive one another. To do so, a total of 400 Canadian participants (216 university students, the majority aged eighteen to twenty years old, and 184 private care facility senior residents, the majority aged seventy-six to eighty-five years old) took part in a self-reported survey. Participants were asked to indicate what level of competency and warmth they would attribute to young, young-old, old, and oldest individuals. Results suggest that oldest individuals are perceived as the least competent by both students and residents. More so, students attribute the highest warmth scores to the old individuals while residents perceive the young-old individuals as being the warmest. Such results suggest shifting targets of ageism whereby very old individuals are particularly at risk of being the target of ageist stereotypes

An Andragogic Approach to Fall-prevention Education for the Elderly in Community-based Settings

Falls are an increasingly problematic challenge for an aging society. Falls are accidental and unforeseen occurrences. Given that the vast number of annual falls are sustained by elderly, community-dwelling individuals, identifying effective means for reducing them is imperative for this group and its caregivers. Patient education is essential in increasing fall-prevention awareness and reducing falls in community-dwelling individuals. Unfortunately, formal educational fall-prevention programs within private practices are limited. Multiple theoretical frameworks for fall-prevention education exist; however, a knowledge gap was identified in fall-prevention educational programs by applying andragogic principles to patients in the elderly population. Contributions of this paper include identifying the advantages of using andragogic principles of adult education as a theoretical framework in conjunction with health promotion as a foundation for future research in fall-prevention educational programs in community-based settings.

Successful Aging: Integrating Physical and Social Perspectives into a Continuing Care Retirement Community

The primary purpose of this review of literature was to determine the physical and social factors of long-term care environments that promote “successful” aging for older adults. The determined factors were used to develop a continuing care, retirement community prototype using principles of new urbanism and traditional neighborhood and new elder-friendly design concepts. The study found that an engagement with life and social connections have a significant impact on one’s ability to age successfully. Both the physical and social environments of long-term care play a significant role in creating a sense of community and a higher perceived quality of life.