February 9, 2016
Are you guilty of this? Using little pet phrases with the elderly, like, “She’s 80 years YOUNG today!” Although they may be offered as terms of endearment, expressions like this can actually be construed as insulting, speaking “down” to the elders to whom we should show the utmost respect.
Not only that, but recent studies reveal that the use of these stereotypical comments and actions can actually be quite damaging, resulting in changes as drastic as increased amyloid plaques in the brain: known Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
Conversely, older adults who were subjected to positive, respectful aging terms during a study exhibited consistently marked lower heart rates and blood pressure. “Positive age stereotypes act as a buffer to everyday stressors and challenges,” according to Becca Levy of the Yale School of Public Health.
The Huffington Post offers some suggestions on aging microaggressions to avoid, including:
- Referring to older adults in infantile terms, like “adorable”
- Stereotyping seniors as being tech-challenged
- Using a patronizing tone, such as speaking with exaggerated slowness or using a high pitched voice
Together, we can break through the stereotypical negatives of aging through encouraging and motivating our beloved elders with the respect and honor they so greatly deserve. For more tips on helping seniors retain or regain independence, dignity, and overall wellbeing, download our free St. Louis home care resources, or call us at 314-863-9912 to schedule an in-home assessment and discover how our professional Missouri home care services can enhance life for a beloved senior in your life.