Researchers seeking to improve older people’s lives should stop sampling by age and start doing so by needs. To lock individuals into the narrative of age as a vulnerability means inevitably creating ageist stereotypes, according to a useful round up of media prejudices and the language of science published by theconversation.com. It argues that “negative stereotypes of aging mean older adults are less willing to seek help when they need it. Ageism and a lack of age-friendly communications alienate older adults from participating in research about their health. This makes them shy away from seeking care, or participating in research that can benefit them. Those who study successful aging are well aware that age —-as a generalizing variable — does not predict the capacities or needs of older study participants. But then why do we keep using age as a numerical or categorical index?”

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