※ 발췌 (excerpts):
How many times have you heard the expression ^little old ladies^? What images do you get? Blue-haired seniors chatting at the beauty parlors? A petite woman peering over a steering wheel?
Have you ever called someone a ^little old lady^? Have you ever been called one?
^Little old ladies^ is just one of dozens of unflattering terms used to refer to older adults. Examples include ^grumpy old men^, ^geezers^, ^bats^, ^witches^, and other belittling expressions. Virtually everyoe has encounters words of this sort at one time or another. They are found in newspaper stories and magazine articles, heard on television, and overheard in conversation. Studies have shown that they are used by people of all social classes and evey by older adults themselves.
Although these expressions are used in certain situations for light humor, they have the effect of lumping all older adults into one category, rather than focusing on individuals. This ^language of aging^ helps create or reinforce stereotypes of what it is like to be an older adult, even though the images are unrealistic and virtually obsolete. Hearing this language may influence our attitudes about and behavior toward older people. It may even affect our own aging process. This is unfortunate because research has clearly demonstrated that the older population is diverse; that most older people are active, independent, and happy; and that many of the problems thought to be due to aging are preventable, reversible, or can be delayed for years.
How names CAN hurt you
As children we are taught that "sticks and stones may break our bones, but names can never hurt us." While it is true that words cannot affect our bodies, they can bruise or lift our spirits. A careless word or insult can demoralize us; a compliment can make our day. Our language has a major influence on how we look at things.
Think about advertising. Just labeling a product ^healthy^ will attract health-conscious consumers. Calling a product ^deluxe^ or ^premium^ makes us expect high quality. Well-chosen words can bring pictures to mind, make our mouth water, or stir our feelings.
Language has the same kind of power when applied to people. The student labeled ^bright^ or ^smart^ is treated as intelligent, while the child labeled ^slow^ is expected to perform poorly. These labels may result in a self-fulfilling prophecy because they reinforce an image or expectation that eventually affects each student's self-concept and performance.
Labels applied to whole groups of people are at the root of prejudice because they emphasize difference and suggest that one group is better than another. Studies have shown that these lables affect how people are thought of and treated and may even affect how they come to think of themselves.
The impact of labeling can be quite significant for older people. Some specialists who study aging and old age suggest that when a person is labeled ^old^ or talked to in a patronizing way, it can start a cycle of deterioration that results in feelings of incompetence. Research done in nursing homes suggests that residents labeled ^fragile^ learn to be helpless and actually become helpless. Interestingly, though, most older people, even cancer patients, tend to see themselves as above average and "exceptions to the rule" when it comes to aging, probably because of the negative new of older people most of us seem to hold.
( ... .... )