Assignment: Journal Entry – Adultism–Personal Experience and Professional Role
Consider these scenarios:
You are a social worker and just started working at a local mental health agency. Your client is several years older and he or she asks you how old you are.
In a meeting with a much younger client, the teenage girl looks at you and blurts out, “You are too old to understand anything about what I am dealing with.”
How might you react and respond in those two scenarios?
Judgments about someone’s capabilities due to how old they look are made every day. Both young and older people are disrespected due to bias around their perceived lack of abilities. Additionally, these prejudices are often internalized, impacting the way these individuals feel about themselves. This internalized oppression diminishes their sense of self-confidence and self-esteem and often equates to unnecessary self-defined limits. Youth are constantly in a position in which their actions are controlled and their voices are stifled. Similarly, the elderly are ignored, hidden away, and, at worst, abused. They are often targeted for maltreatment and marketing scams due to their perceived vulnerabilities. You will be asked to consider your own experiences with either of these issues and how as a social worker you might mitigate the marginalization of these groups.
Consider your own experiences with ageism and adultism. Did any topic or subtopic related to ageism or adultism you encountered this week surprise you?
By Day 7 of Week 10
Respond in your journal, explaining a specific example of ageism or adultism that might have occurred in your life or in the life of someone you know. Describe how the experience affected you or the person you know. Then explain how you as a social worker might support younger clients facing adultism or elderly clients facing ageism as they work toward the goals they have set for themselves.