“The Elderly” Should Disappear: Not the People, but the Ageist Term


Older people too often experience negative attitudes or behaviours towards them based on their age. Research shows people who are labelled ‘the elderly’ experience a host of negative stereotypes applied by the ‘non-elderly’. The objective of this research was to understand how stereotypes of ‘the elderly’ are portrayed in online new media. Within New Zealand, 6,661 online newspaper stories using the term "the elderly" were tracked, recorded and analyzed for a period of 18 months during 2019 and 2020. Results revealed use of the term ‘the elderly’ reflected various stereotyping and ageist discourses in the message. In conclusion, the ageist term "the elderly" is a form of prejudice shaping public perceptions which tend to diminish and negatively stereotype older adults.

Author Information
Diana Amundsen, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2021
Stream: Aging and Gerontology

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon