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The Tragedy of Old Age in America

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Advertisement is one of the evidences that Butler represent as one of the methods that shape popular views of old age in the US. There are several are several advertisements and travel folders showing comfortable and relaxed old individuals who are also well dressed. Social security and pension provide a comfortable and a reliable flow of funds; therefore, the old have no financial worries. The old are also shown as delighted residents of retired community with names like leisure and Sun City, with a lot of grass. The mass media also portray the old people as fast fading, finished and out of date. This makes many young individuals fear old age and even a greater majority of the young want to die as soon as they pass their prime age due to the fear of old age. In my opinion, I view the old people as wise individuals who have a lot of knowledge due to their experience of life. They deserve respect and better treatment from the younger generation.

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Butler mentions that the society has developed views of ageing that are not realistic. This is mainly because people base feelings on primitive fears, prejudice and stereotypes rather than knowledge and insight in reality the way on actually feels in old age. Many people do not know that actually what one goes through in old age depend upon physical health, personality, early life experiences and the events of late life, for example, the social support that one receives.

Butler mentions that sometimes, it is the elderly themselves who reinforce ageism. One of the ways that the old people themselves reinforce ageism is the way they think and moves slowly. Another way that the elderly reinforce ageism is by secluding themselves, they want to live alone or only with their peers. They elderly are bound to themselves, their traditions and dwell in conservation. They can neither learn swiftly and in addition to that they dislike innovation and are not open to new ideas. Another way the elderly reinforce ageism is by letting themselves be troubled by the changes they see in the current young generation, thereby begrudging themselves with the younger generation. The elderly also reinforce ageism by becoming more demanding than they can actually give to the society. They also easily become irritable. A combination of these factors makes young people stereotype and withdraw from the elderly people since they view them as a bother.

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