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Age Discrimination

Employment And The Adea, Older Patients In The Health Care System, Older Drivers, Interpersonal Interactions And Social Segregation

Age discrimination occurs when individuals are treated differently because of their chronological age. Children and youth are routinely treated differently than adults. They are required by law to attend school and denied the legal right to vote, drink alcohol, and work. This type of age discrimination is justified because of children's immaturity. Although people debate the chronological age that should be used to define adult status, few question the desirability of treating children differently than adults. Chronological age also is used to discriminate in favor of older people. Old age often entitles people to reduced taxes and discounts on drugs, admission fees, or bus and airline tickets. Medicare provides older people with national health insurance and Supplemental Social Security provides a guaranteed minimum income for older people. Discussions of age discrimination, however, seldom focus on the restrictions of children's rights or special privileges for older people. Rather, the primary concern of age discrimination involves situations where older people are treated in unfair and negative ways because of their advanced age. The following discussion focuses on the two most widely recognized areas of discrimination against the old—in employment and health care—but also addresses discrimination in driving laws and interpersonal interactions.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1