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Age discrimination is bad for your health

Created date

June 5th, 2015
age discrimination
age discrimination

About 20% of older Americans suffer age discrimination in the health care system according to a new study, and it can affect their health.

Researchers analyzed information from over 6,000 study participants who were part of the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study—a longitudinal study evaluating changes in labor force participation and the health transitions that people undergo in their later years. 

The researchers found that one in three people who experienced health care system-related discrimination were one-third more likely to have new or worsening disabilities and functional impairments in the following four-year period. Respondents felt as if they were treated unfairly because of their age, or perceived that they were not treated with respect or dignity by members of the health care profession. On the other hand, people who felt as if they were treated fairly tended to maintain their health status.

The study’s lead author, Stephanie Rogers, M.D., says that more research is needed to learn and analyze the specific nature of discrimination-related experiences that participants had. The researchers have also called for all health care workers to treat patients with dignity and fairness regardless of their age or any other factors, and they hope that less ageism in health care may lead to improved functioning and well-being among all seniors.