Activity 1 Ageism in the media
Based on your readings in Topic 1, outline your understanding of the concept of “Ageism” as it relates to older people.
Include the following:
a definition of ageism,
discussion of ageism in both it’s positive and negative forms
discussion of medical ageism
discussion of the potential impact of ageism on the wellbeing of older people
Include references to at least 5 academic texts ( supplied readings and/or refereed journal articles, text books) using correct APA style for citation and reference list).
Select two media items (advertisements, newspaper or magazine articles, TV ads or programs) which include representations of older people, one which you consider ageist and one which you don’t find ageist. For each item, briefly describe the content and analyse it in relation to ageism, showing the reasons for your conclusion as to whether or not it is ageist.
Activity 2 Story Witnessing
Using the ‘story witnessing approach’ described in Topic 3, and based on Andrews’ Elder Project reading,
Select one of the Stories of older adults from the readings listed under this heading in Topic 3 ( ie. Schmid, Leser, Pieters-Hawke, McInnes, Albom, Edgar)
Write a brief letter to the older person who is the subject of the story (ie. Saralyn, Barbara, Hazel, Colin, Morrie, Mary).
(eg. Dear Colin, I found it interesting reading the story written about you by your son, William, because………; or Dear Barbara, I appreciated reading your story because…..)
In your letter include the following
– in a respectful manner tell the person what it is about their story which has made an impression on you, with the aim of ‘giving back’ your reflection on the story to that person and, in so doing, validating his/her experiences by your ‘story witness’ to these aspects of his/her life.
– highlight the personal strengths which you can discern from that person’s story.
– ask the person a question aimed at discovering more about their attitude or sense of meaning in life.
Activity 3 Reflection on the readings and activities so far
Answer the following questions:
Have the readings and activities completed so far confirmed or challenged your knowledge and attitudes about ageing and older people? In what ways?
Outline a key aspect of your learning from these readings/activities which you will be able to use in your future work as a health professional with older people.
This assignment incorporates learning activities based on the topics: stories of individual ageing and what we can learn from them; ageism and social construction of ageing. Activities require reflection on own attitudes to ageing, use of critical thinking and ability to link learning from these topics to your future role as a health professional.
Activity 1 relates to learning outcome 2 – promoting an understanding of health care and ageing. The quiz will assist students to identify their existing knowledge of ageing as a developmental stage of life, and identify some common misconceptions of ageing and health, in preparation for the following subject topics.
Activity 2 relates to learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3. Ageism is a socially constructed view of ageing, which is demonstrated in values, language and behaviour (3). It is a vital concept for students to understand in preparation for professional practice with older people (1,2). Ageism is common in the community and in the health system and impacts negatively on health practice with older people (1.3). This activity assesses student ability to identify instances of ageism in the media and in medical practice and demonstrate an understanding of the potential consequences of ageism on the health and wellbeing of older people.
Activity 3 relates to learning outcomes 2, 3, and 6. It requires students to consider individual stories of ageing from a strengths based and narrative approach as an alternative to a medical needs perspective (2), and encourages students to reflect on own values and use of language (3) in relating to an older person in a structured way which encourages participatory and emancipatory professional practices (6).
Activity 4 relates to learning outcomes 1 and 3. It requires students to utilise simple techniques of reflective practice to review their learning, which is an important aspect of and skills for effective professional practice.