Skip to content

The Impact of Ageism on Your Health

Ageism is one of those things that is invisible, until you learn how to recognize it.

Then, suddenly, you see it everywhere.

We live in a youth-centric society. And there’s a lot to be said for young people. But discounting the value of older people hurts everyone.

As a society, as employers, as people—we’re poorer when we dismiss or ignore older people.

But ageism is one of the last socially acceptable forms of prejudice and discrimination. 

It’s also unique in that it’s been called prejudice against our future selves. 

You’re not going to wake up one day with skin that’s a different color than the one you were born with. But if you’re fortunate, you will have the privilege of growing old. 

Ageism also intersects with other forms of discrimination. For instance, women are subjected to ageism earlier in life than men. Gendered ageism is a huge topic in itself.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about ageism is that when it’s turned inward, it can have a powerful negative influence on a person’s physical and mental health. 

It can even shorten your life. People with a negative view of aging die roughly seven years earlier than those with the most positive perceptions of aging.

To learn more, read the story I wrote on ageism for Mind Over Matter magazine’s latest issue: ‘Forever Young’.

My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise:

A big thank-you, too, to three women with whose stories and insights I didn’t have space to include: 

  • Melsande Dean
  • Kelly Thompson
  • Dr. Annalijn Conklin, Michael Smith Health Research BC Scholar, assistant professor | CORE | Faculty of Pharmeutical Sciences, at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, and a scientist at CAHO | Providence Health Care Research Institute.

Photo by SHVETS production Courtesy of Pexels