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post 1

When I was growing up, older people, in general, were respected and seen as wise. The oldest adults in my family have always been my grandparents, and everyone in my family, including myself, has always looked up to them. They are who we go to for advice and comfort. Although I never really had the chance to meet a lot of older adults in society when I was growing up, I remember my parents talking about people putting their parents or grandparents in nursing homes because they didn’t have the time or simply didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of them. I’ve noticed now that I have experienced care of older adults with nurses, there is a great amount of ageism in society, and the love and respect my family shows to my grandparents isn’t the same in all families or facilities. In fact, a study in Australia has shown that 22-25% of older adults with mental illness reported some form of discrimination in the past 12 months, which is double the percentage of older adults without mental illness who have reported discrimination in the past 12 months (Temple et al., 2020). There are many stereotypes, both positive and negative that are present in Western society. However, sadly, the negative outweigh the positive (Miller, 2019). Although this may only seem like something that can harm an older adult’s mental health, it also affects their physical health. Studies have shown that negative stereotypes such as seeing an older adult as slow or incompetent, decrease an older patient’s cognitive skills and performance. These same negative stereotypes have also been proven to be associated with poor recovery from illness as well as declined physical health (Miller, 2019). When I was younger, people who suffered from mental illness were seen as different and sometimes they were called “crazy”. In addition, older adults with mental or emotional disorders were viewed as a burden which further leads to these older adults being viewed as incompetent, and unfortunately, that is still something that is seen in society. In my family, the language used to describe older adults suffering from mental illness were also called “crazy”, but for those suffering from altered mental function, I always heard things such as, “They’re older so their mind isn’t as good as it used to be.” It’s heartbreaking to look back on how people, including older adults, suffering from mental illness or altered mental function were viewed. Thankfully, with understanding and education that is changing in society and among those I know. I think one of the major factors of how older adults were viewed when I was growing up in my family was our culture. Ever since I can remember, any time somebody was known to have a mental illness or suffer from suicidal ideation or attempts, I would hear those around me say that they’re ungrateful and need to become closer to God. Although religion is a great outlet for many people, especially older adults, suffering from mental illness, it isn’t for everybody, and I feel that this blinded those I grew up with into believing that religion fixes everything. Thankfully, as time has passed, my family and society have learned to slowly become more accepting of mental illness, especially in older adults, which has helped my family be more supportive of those suffering from mental illness.

post 2

When I was growing up, older people, in general, were respected and seen as wise. The oldest adults in my family have always been my grandparents, and everyone in my family, including myself, has always looked up to them. They are who we go to for advice and comfort. Although I never really had the chance to meet a lot of older adults in society when I was growing up, I remember my parents talking about people putting their parents or grandparents in nursing homes because they didn’t have the time or simply didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of them. I’ve noticed now that I have experienced care of older adults with nurses, there is a great amount of ageism in society, and the love and respect my family shows to my grandparents isn’t the same in all families or facilities. In fact, a study in Australia has shown that 22-25% of older adults with mental illness reported some form of discrimination in the past 12 months, which is double the percentage of older adults without mental illness who have reported discrimination in the past 12 months (Temple et al., 2020). There are many stereotypes, both positive and negative that are present in Western society. However, sadly, the negative outweigh the positive (Miller, 2019). Although this may only seem like something that can harm an older adult’s mental health, it also affects their physical health. Studies have shown that negative stereotypes such as seeing an older adult as slow or incompetent, decrease an older patient’s cognitive skills and performance. These same negative stereotypes have also been proven to be associated with poor recovery from illness as well as declined physical health (Miller, 2019). When I was younger, people who suffered from mental illness were seen as different and sometimes they were called “crazy”. In addition, older adults with mental or emotional disorders were viewed as a burden which further leads to these older adults being viewed as incompetent, and unfortunately, that is still something that is seen in society. In my family, the language used to describe older adults suffering from mental illness were also called “crazy”, but for those suffering from altered mental function, I always heard things such as, “They’re older so their mind isn’t as good as it used to be.” It’s heartbreaking to look back on how people, including older adults, suffering from mental illness or altered mental function were viewed. Thankfully, with understanding and education that is changing in society and among those I know. I think one of the major factors of how older adults were viewed when I was growing up in my family was our culture. Ever since I can remember, any time somebody was known to have a mental illness or suffer from suicidal ideation or attempts, I would hear those around me say that they’re ungrateful and need to become closer to God. Although religion is a great outlet for many people, especially older adults, suffering from mental illness, it isn’t for everybody, and I feel that this blinded those I grew up with into believing that religion fixes everything. Thankfully, as time has passed, my family and society have learned to slowly become more accepting of mental illness, especially in older adults, which has helped my family be more supportive of those suffering from mental illness.

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