Interpersonal Interactions And Social Segregation
Many older adults experience subtle forms of age discrimination when they interact with others. Older people in American culture are often devalued, avoided, and excluded from everyday activities. They may be segregated from children and younger adults and overlooked as candidates for useful work, either paid or unpaid. The role losses that typically accompany old age reduce older adults' social contacts and recognition. Older persons, for example, are sometimes excluded from family conversations or addressed in a patronizing manner. Religious institutions worried about attracting young people often neglect older members' needs. Churches and synagogues rarely structure their programs, budgets, and services to permit all age groups to participate equally. Older adults are also spatially segregated from other age groups in nursing homes and retirement communities. Even organizations that attempt to counter older adults' social rejection further serve to isolate them in seniors' centers and clubs. Thus, age discrimination functions not only blatantly in employment, health care, and driving laws, but also subtly in interpersonal relationships.