Age discrimination has a negative impact on the health of the elderly

When older people face ageism or age discrimination, it can cause significant harm to their health, according to scientists from the Yale school of public health. The largest study in this regard, that covered data from more than seven million people from around the world, was commissioned by WHO as part of the recently launched Global campaign against ageism and published in PLOS ONE.

A systematic review of 422 studies involving a total of more than seven million people from 45 countries and five continents found evidence of the adverse effects of ageism on older people. Factors such as a denial of access to health care and negative cultural stereotypes about aging lead to deterioration of mental health (for example, depression) and physical health, including reduced life expectancy.

Scientists have identified the negative impact of ageism in 96% of studies. In ten studies, experts have found that the assimilation of negative cultural stereotypes by older people reduces the life expectancy of patients. In 92% of the studies, there were signs of age discrimination in medical decision-making, and this trend increased over time. In 85% of the articles, access to medical services was denied. 

The review also found that older people suffer from ageism regardless of gender, age, and race/ethnicity.

The authors of the meta-analysis conclude that it is necessary to develop certain measures to overcome discrimination since it carries great risk to health.

Jan. 20, 2020, 11:36 a.m.

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