chapter  8
Contesting Ageism
ByLucy Mkandawire-Valhmu
Pages 7

Aging is expected in every society, as every day that we each live moves us toward older age; yet in Western society older adults are often considered frail, thought to have limited value and sometimes seen as a burden to society. Because of these perceptions or perhaps as an antecedent to these perceptions, societal views, as propagated in the media, stress that youthfulness is more desirable. Aging is thus to be avoided at all costs. Ageism in the form of perceptions and attitudes is of great concern not only because of the health implications – both physical and emotional – it has on older adults but also because of the inadvertent and hidden implications it has on all of us as we pretend that it is indeed possible to remain young indefinitely. This chapter analyzes the concept of ageism in Western society from a feminist lens with the aim of preparing future healthcare providers to provide culturally safe healthcare to a growing population of older adults.