Similar to the dynamics of racism and sexism. It is a set of attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about the aging process and of people who have been arbitrarily defined as no longer able to be productive because of advancing age, which influence and direct one's interactions with elderly people. Ageism is the discrimination and prejudice against elderly people based on mythologies about the aging process as well as misconceptions about youth, well-rounded ignorance, and stereotypes. Some of the stereotypes about the aged are: they generally have ill health, are conservative politically, alienated, interpersonally and economically dependent, nonsexual, and are physically separated from children. Ageism is structurally operative by enforcement of mandatory retirement age.
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