Adolescent Stereotypical View about Aging

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I recall visiting my maternal grandmother regularly as a teenager to check how she was faring. She was in her late fifties by then and lived alone. As she used to be quiet and less talkative, I never really appreciated these visits. Her silence also made it impossible for me to socialize, concluding that elderly people are very dull and uninteresting. I’ve come to see aging as a negative thing. I started avoiding encounters with the old because of this belief. I spent more time with her when the same grandmother came to live with us for a while. Because my parent spent their day at work, I was left most of the time with grandmother. This provided a good opportunity to engage in interaction with her and she did prove me wrong with my premature conclusion. I found her interesting and charming. She talked, laughed and reminisced. She told me many stories, talked about love, her interests and her life experiences. Now I understand why she was indifference in her home: she lacked company and social connections. This solitary life made her feel lonely and abandoned. Old people can be more thoughtful and considerate, and have rich experiences that make one think reflective about love, play, work, life and what really matters in life. Through her I learned about how older people are and behave. She made me to start seeing aging process in a more positive way to value old people. Now I do care to engage in interaction with the aged and the many I have encountered are not boring.
Inductive reasoning plays an important role in the thinking of adolescents. The adolescents inductive reasoning concerns relations that are interpreted as causal (Levesque, 2011). Inductive reasoning involves considering a specific case or fact and inferring a general principle from this specific case (Levesque, 2011). One or few case like one above is insufficient to be a representative of the entire social group. Furthermore, the few cases may be atypical to that social group. For example, one may encounter an old person who is boring due to physical or mental health problem. One then goes ahead to infer a general principle that all old people are boring based on this single case. The causal inference in this case is that aging is associated with boring, in that as people age they get boring. This hasty generalization mounts to fallacy. Inductive reasoning helps one make quick judgment or conclusion and thus avoid wrestling with complexities.
Am sure they are many young people out there who hold negative and passive views towards the old people. They do not care to interact with the elderly and learn how they are. Young people prefer not to do anything because it is easier that way. As a result, they become inclined to accept age typecasts without questioning their validity. When adolescents accept stereotypes of age without inquiring they expand their knowledge base concerning aging with unverified information.
Young people share many myths about the aged and aging. They view the aged as people who have many health issues, are senile, have low productivity and efficiency (Laccel, 2015). Aged-based stereotypes are learned and socially constructed. Young people learn these beliefs based on few cases they encounter, see it in media and hear from unverified stories.

Laccel, R. (2015). Are young people views on aging accurate? The European Health Psychologist, 17(2); 63 -66
Levesque, R. J. R. (2011). Encyclopedia of adolescence. New York: Springer.

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