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Social Inequality in Elderly Americans

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Social Inequality in Elderly Americans

Social Inequality in Elderly Americans

Elderly people (women and men age sixty-five or older) (Macionis, 2005), Have many obstacles to face as they grow older, many of these obstacles involve social inequality. Not only do the elderly have to learn to deal with many forms of Ageism (the stereotyping and prejudice against individuals or groups because of their age), some also have to deal with the fact that they do not have enough savings or pension benefits to be self supporting, for most people over sixty-five, the major source of income is social security (Macionis, 2005). This forces many elderly Americans back into the workforce to continue to earn money to support themselves and or spouses. Although many elderly Americans may choose to work into later stages of their life for personal satisfaction, some choose to continue work for lack of money, and may be discriminated against in the workforce by facing ageism. Once out of the workforce, the elderly population may also have to face poverty and elderly abuse.

Many elderly Americans decide to retire at around age sixty-five, and many have chosen to say in the labor force well beyond retirement age. A reason for this many be that better health now allows people who want to work, to stay in the labor force (Macionis, 2005). Aging Americans face considerable economic discrimination, especially in the workplace (Falk & Falk, 1997). For example, older workers are sometimes fired regardless of their job performance or passed over for promotions in favor of younger employees (Falk & Falk, 1997). I have seen first hand, a man named Mo, whom I currently work with, fired from a position because the budget no longer allowed for his high salary, after 55 years experience in the particular field in which he is considered a subject matter expert, Mo was asked to leave by not being told he was leaving because the budget could no longer afford him, but by being told he was no longer able to understood today’s workforce. Since then the contract has hired 3 young adults in replace of Mo. In the book “An aging population” it is explained that age discrimination in the economy was/is the practice of discharging employees at an older age regardless of job performance. These cases are hard to prove and difficult to litigate. This is mainly true because job performance can be a subjective criterion often influenced by both the self-fulfilling prophecy and office politics (Falk & Falk, 1997). Although Americans would have hoped that this form of discrimination would have ceased with the pressure of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is still prevalent in many cases.

Once elderly people leave the workforce either by voluntary retirement or involuntarily retirement they may face several consequences. One is, of course, reduction in social honor. Others are higher insurance premiums, difficulties in obtaining credit, and poverty (Falk & Falk, 1997). Poverty among the elderly is often hidden from view. Because of personal pride and a desire to remain independent, many elderly people hide financial problems, even from their own families. People who have supported their children for years find it difficult to admit that they can no longer provide for themselves (Macionis, 2005). According to Dychtwald a sizeable segment of elders- as much as one third has virtually no savings, no investments, no pensions, and, in all likelihood, will receive no inheritance windfall. Today, these 25 million have average household net assets of less than $1,000 (1999).

This leaves the “sandwich generation” the burden of caring for their parents almost as long as caring for their own children (Macionis, 2005). Today, 80 percent of all long-term care is provided by friends and family members outside of hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions. This care giving might involve grocery shopping and housecleaning several hours a week (Dychtwald, 1999). Many adult age children are unable to care for their elderly parents as much as needed and have chosen to admit the elderly into long-term care facilities. Choosing a long-term care facility

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