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Reframing ageist language and attitudes to influence social change by Beth Witrogen, MJ

Despite global progress in identifying language that disrespects and marginalizes people by race or gender, communications around aging remain one of the last frontiers of social equality. Research shows that ageist beliefs--stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination based on age--are an insidious presence in global cultures, from greeting cards and jokes to elder abuse and economic inequity. A new study reaffirms the impact of people's beliefs about aging on health and well-being. Lead author Julia Nakamura, BS, a graduate student in health psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada, believes that "combating ageism and reducing harmful stereotypes about aging are potential paths to improving individual aging satisfaction. In a landmark survey researched by Common Cause Australia and commissioned by the Southern Melbourne Primary Care Partnership (SMPCP) through the Victorian government, the "Framing Age Message Guide" identifies ways of communicating about older adults through a values-based community engagement approach. This guidance can aid organizations in reframing their messages for or about this population.

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