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Many seniors feeling ignored, not important: report

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As some of you near your golden years, you’re probably hoping you’ll enjoy it by perhaps spending some time with the grandkids, and offer some sage advice. But the a new report finds ageism is one of the most-tolerated forms of discrimination in Canada.

Nearly 80 per cent of elderly people feel less important, adding they are often ignored by younger generations and that our society values young people more.

Thirty-five per cent of respondents in the Revera Report on Ageism admit they have treated someone differently because of their age, while one-fifth say older people are a burden.

Vancouver psychologist Dr. Derek Swain is not surprised by the findings and believes today’s fast-paced, high-tech way of living is a reason why today’s youth have less contact with older people.

“Grandparents have less involvement with families than they did in the past. We’re so focused on a nuclear family these days and often it’s a broken nuclear family,” says Swain.

He tells us young people don’t realize they, too, will be grandparents one day. Swain feels the solution is to spend time with older people instead of avoiding them.

“If they do project ahead a few years, they’re going to imagine themselves as being an older person but just as vital as they are currently… they’ll be in for a rude shock when the time actually comes for them,” notes Swain.

He adds that feeling left out could greatly affect seniors’ mental well-being, as many are likely feeling isolated, vulnerable, and hurt.

Canadians overall seem to have a negative perception of aging. About 90 per cent associate aging with not being able to get around easily and losing independence.

Generation Y and Generation X are least likely to think those who are 75 and older are pleasant or healthy; most describe seniors as grumpy, sick or frail.