Opinion

Ageism a barrier to healthcare for seniors

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9 Comments
  • Sandi Berwick says:

    Excellent – I completely concur.
    Bravo!

    Sandi Berwick, RD, MA FSGN
    MSVU
    Co-chair, NS Dietitians’ Continuing Care Action Group’
    Associate: Eden Philosophy of Care

  • Paul Anderson says:

    Excellent article. Thank you for contributing this piece. I have had the misfortune to witness ageism in healthcare on a number of occasions when accompanying elderly family members to hospital or to physician appointments. In regard to the idea that “Seniors accompanied to their medical visits raise fewer topics with their doctors and are less assertive.” I would say that although that can occur, it would depend on the nature of the relationship between the caregiver/companion and the patient. Some seniors are far less assertive when alone, more tense, and they will often tend to forget to mention relevant information. It may help to have the caregiver/companion present for at least part of an appointment.

    • Neel Mistry says:

      Dear Paul,

      Thank you for reading our article. You raise an excellent point, which we agree is valid amongst seniors.

      Regards,
      Neel and Co.

  • Toby Stewart says:

    I understand the point of this piece… and as a ‘geezer’ in my 8th decade, I agree that we don’t want to add yet another “-ism” to the many that are protesting discriminatory (and even criminal) detrimental treatment from ‘systems’ and ‘authorities’ and members of certain professions.
    I am pleased that these four ‘young’ authors have documented/footnoted their key points… and I like the recommendation for more effective and durable education for those proceeding towards becoming HCPs.
    I would also recommend that what used to be called a “Quality Standard” (QS) of practise with/for older patients could be developed… and then each already practising HCP could be periodically assessed against such a standard.
    As well, patients and their advocates could use the guidance within the QS to support their interactions with their personal HCP. I have also found that being informed and prepared for consultations/appointments puts one on a more level playing field with one’s HCPs… irrespective of the clinical setting.
    Finally, it has been my experience that younger HCPs are less problematic to work with as a patient (and as an advocate)… the most difficulty I have encountered was with older (nearing retirement …if that’s not too “ageist”) GPs who are the most dismissive/superior or who ‘act like they’re god’.
    Thank you.

    • Neel Mistry says:

      Hi Toby,

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. We are truly humbled. You’ve raised many interesting points here. While we’re happy to hear that younger HCPs are cognizant of this issue (and therefore, easier to work with), it’s unfortunate to hear that there are other GPs who are indifferent to this. We hope that our work reaches as many people as possible, in an earnest effort to alleviate prevailing ageist attitudes among HCPs, both young and old.

      Regards,
      Neel and Co.

  • Flora G Knight says:

    As a 84 yr old very active senior I tottaly agree with the comments in this article. The age number is only a numerical reference as I have friends in their 60s & 70s who have a physical age of someone in thier 80s. As humans we all age at different rates based on our genes, culutural and mental outlook on life. I believe in a positve outlook on life, maintaining a healthy diet and remaining active as long as I have the ability to do so.

    • Neel Mistry says:

      Dear Flora,

      Thank you for reading our piece. We agree with what you have to say, and are delighted to hear about your positive outlook on life. Wishing you good health ahead.

      Regards,
      Neel and Co.

  • Ed Bernacki says:

    Good comments. A big issue is what defines elderly or senior? At 60 I did aerobic classes at my gym with 25 year olds, my mother is 91 and walks a km most days. Yet, others are already very ill. Much like with those 0 to 18 years old age, I wonder if we need new ways to segment those 55 to 95.

    • Neel Mistry says:

      Hi Ed,

      You’ve raised an excellent point here. Unfortunately, our society defines “elderly” or “senior” based on a numerical value; however, as you rightly mentioned, it is far from that. This might be a topic for future discussion. We’re glad that you, and your mother, are keeping healthy during this unprecedented time.

      Take care,
      Neel and Co.

Authors

Neel Mistry

Contributor

Neel Mistry is a medical student at the University of Ottawa. He is passionate about medical education, public policy and health management.

Paul Rooprai

Contributor

Paul Rooprai is a medical student at the University of Ottawa. He is passionate about public health, clinical research and patient safety.

Kim Rooprai

Contributor

Kim Rooprai is a fourth year dental student at NYU College of Dentistry. She is interested in global and public health, healthcare management, and providing quality patient care.

Shubham Mistry

Contributor

Shubham Mistry is a PharmD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. He is passionate about rational prescribing and high-quality patient care.

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