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Ageism is a form of discrimination and prejudice, particularly experienced by seniors. Most seniors are mentally and physically active regardless of age with a great deal to contribute. However, societal norms marginalize seniors, treat them with disrespect, make them feel unwelcome and otherwise generalize as if they were all the same.

For example:  

  • Late night comedians and talk show hosts joke about seniors and memory loss;
  • Doctors often talk past the senior patient to an adult child as if the senior wasn’t even in the room;
  • Younger adults mock seniors for being “slow”;
  • Commercial advertisements depict seniors as out of date, and lacking knowledge about modern culture and new technologies;
  • Certain laws and regulations are paternalistic towards seniors and limit their choices. 

Ageism robs seniors of choice, independence, dignity and negatively impacts their quality of life.  ALFA seeks to illuminate discriminatory practices that adversely affect seniors’ lives, illuminate prejudicial attitudes toward the aging process, and institutional practices that perpetuate stereotypes about seniors. ALFA aligns and supports programs that break traditional notions of aging. In 2011, the 2011 Short Film Competition, the Senior Living Art Showcase and a partnership with the Age of Champions documentary underscored our commitment to speaking out against ageism. In 2012, the 2012 Short Film Competition and the 2012 Senior Living Art Showcase continued ALFA's efforts to combat negative age-based stereotypes.

Annual Initiatives Against Ageism

Society’s views toward aging have come a long way as the average age of the population increases, but not far enough. Paternalistic and condescending attitudes about seniors still prevail in many places and result in ageism and elder abuse. ALFA, representing senior living providers and the seniors and families they serve, is a leading voice in the fight against ageism in America. ALFA’s goal is to illuminate discriminatory practices that adversely affect seniors’ lives, illuminate prejudicial attitudes toward the aging process, and institutional practices that perpetuate stereotypes about seniors. In 2015, ALFA will continue identifying opportunities to throw ageist prejudices on their head.


Ageism in the News

Ageism, Career Resources, Job Seekers, Professional Development, Recruiters
Ageism is a fact of life today, mostly felt by older generations, but in reverse by some members of younger generations, too.
Ageism, cheatsheet, Elder Abuse, Managed Risk
Busy physicians caring for older adults are likely to encounter a victim of some type of elder abuse on a frequent basis, regardless of whether the ph...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Medicare
It’s Medicare open enrollment season through December 7 allowing Medicare recipients to comparison shop and change plans, but it’s also a time when sc...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Federal Agency Activity
The Administration for Community Living has awarded the first-ever federal grants specifically designated to improve states’ Adult Protective Services...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Federal Agency Activity
The Justice Department and the Corporation for National and Community Service have announced Elder Justice AmeriCorps, a new grant program providing l...
Ageism, Disabilities, Elder Abuse, Memory Care Education
Many holders of long-term care insurance let their policies lapse, even after holding them for years, and a study by the Center for Retirement Researc...
Ageism, Reports
Following the curve of the U.S. population, the nation’s workforce is aging but older workers often face age discrimination, reports the Pew Charitabl...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Managed Risk
The Internet-security focused (ISC)² Foundation has unveiled a program designed to educate older adults about the importance of cyber security.
Ageism, Disabilities, Elder Abuse, Family Relations, Managed Risk
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues to roll out resources to help families and caregivers manage finances of older adults with a new su...
Ageism, Career Resources, Job Seekers, Professional Development, Recruiters
“We need someone with a higher energy level,” is one coded way of an employer saying: “I won’t hire you because you are too old.” There are many more ...
Communities and advocates for older adults from around the globe participated in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15 to increase awareness of the ...
Assisted living communities, residents and their loved ones can learn from a new bulletin on financial planning for the future, especially for older a...
The average American is now spending about 20 years in retirement, noted Consumer Finance Protection Board Director Richard Cordray in remarks at a Wh...
Active & Engaged Seniors, Ageism, ALFA Conference & Expo
ALFA has begun its fifth annual call for short films on ageism. Many older adults are mentally and physically active well into their 80s and 90s an...
Ageism, CEO, cheatsheet, Disabilities, Elder Abuse, Hearings, Managed Risk
ALFA recently submitted a statement for the record related to a hearing on financial exploitation of seniors before a U.S. Senate committee, outlining...
Ageism, cheatsheet, Family Relations
Lights, camera, action! ALFA has begun its fifth annual call for short films on ageism. Many older adults are mentally and physically active well i...
Ageism, Family Relations
The Administration for Community Living has unveiled its theme for Older Americans Month this May - “Get Into the Act.” The annual event recognize...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Health and Wellness, Health Care, Managed Risk
It’s now open season for people seeking to switch health coverage plans and that means watch out for scams, says the Federal Trade Commission. The ...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Federal Agency Activity
The Administration for Community Living is reorganizing, including expanding the Office of Elder Rights to become the Office of Elder Justice and Adul...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Managed Risk
Stories and news about Ebola are omnipresent today and whenever there’s a health scare in the headlines, scammers are sure to follow close behind.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States and while nearly half of domestic violence victims first experience it between the a...
Ageism, cheatsheet, Disabilities, Elder Abuse, Health and Wellness, Webinars
The U.S. Justice Department has published an online resource to report elder abuse, the Elder Justice website.
Ageism, cheatsheet, Elder Abuse
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Bureau is launching in early September a campaign designed to spur older Americans and their social...
In the last fiscal year, the United States Postal Inspection Service obtained more than 400 arrests and 410 convictions nationwide, and most of those ...
The U.S Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General operates a hotline accepting tips and complaints from healthcare profession...
Active & Engaged Seniors, Ageism, Disabilities, Health and Wellness, Memory Care Best Practices and Research
It was a man named Henry, confined to a wheelchair, slumping and inactive that changed Michael Rossato-Bennett’s life, and in turn the lives of many o...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Facts and Figures, Federal Agency Activity
The IRS released a warning this week about phone scams after receiving numerous complaints from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls from ind...
Democratic Reps. Gerald Connolly of Virginia and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania in a recent opinion piece made a push for legislation they introduced...
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Federal Agency Activity, Health and Wellness
Anti elder abuse advocates released a new framework this week for addressing challenges to elder abuse prevention and prosecution.
Ageism, cheatsheet, Disabilities, Elder Abuse, Health and Wellness, Managed Risk, Policy in the States
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has signed into law new measures revising the state’s system for criminal background checks and makes significant changes f...

Contact Information:

Maribeth Bersani, Assisted Living Federation of AmericaMaribeth Bersani LinkedIn icon
SVP of Public Policy

Paul Williams, Assisted Living Federation of AmericaPaul Williams, CAE, IOM LinkedIn icon
Vice President of Credentialing & Certification Programs

CORE Principles
ALFA's Core Principles

ALFA’s Core Principles, promulgated and approved by the ALFA's Board of Directors, are used to guide ALFA’s efforts in shaping public policy. These principles encourage consumer choice, quality care and accessibility for all Americans needing assistance with long-term care.

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Certain situations and signs may indicate it might be time to consider alternative living arrangements. Generally speaking, families and seniors begin to consider alternatives when it becomes difficult for the elderly family member to carry on important activities of daily living without significant support and assistance from others.

Whether your needs are immediate or long-term, planning for senior living can seem daunting. Making the Right Choice Involves asking the right questions. Learn more about what to ask when considering senior living.

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