Ageism can cause significant damage to older people’s mental l health and their self esteem, says Carole Easton, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better. It can also lead to a lack of objectivity about their physical problems.“There is evidence to show that constant negative messaging about ageing in society can lead people to believe that it inevitably means reduced physical and mental functioning, often much earlier than the statistics show”, she writes in her lastest blog. “This inhibits people from seeking the help that would benefit them and can result in unnecessary suffering, pain and emotional distress. For some there may be a tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviours such as smoking or drinking while others may consider that engaging in physical activity will not have the benefits to counter what is perceived as unavoidable decline.” And ageism in health care can mean decisions are made on the basis of a person’s age, “and not on an objective assessment of heath needs or evidence of effectiveness”.

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