Broadly, ageism is stereotyping and discriminating against older people due to age. There are different forms it can take, however. In this recent article on ocregister.com breaks it down into three forms: interpersonal ageism, self-directed ageism and institutional ageism.
Interpersonal ageism is between two individuals – perhaps your friend makes a crack about you forgetting something as a “senior moment” for example. Self-directed ageism, also referred to as personal ageism, is when you think of yourself negatively or act in a certain way due to age; perhaps you claim you’re too old to try to learn a new language, or you dismiss your lack of tech skills as being due to your age. And lastly, institutional ageism refers to practices that are built into laws and policies that limits opportunities for older adults based on their age, and this type of racism is not always obvious – it can be subtly ingrained in the organization’s mindset. Case in point: older employees being routinely passed over for promotion despite being qualified.
The article continues by noting that the first step you can take in battling ageism is to recognize if you yourself have ageist beliefs. Even if you are self-aware and astute, you could have ageist thinking and not even realize it.
To start exploring whether you have ageist beliefs, ask yourself four key questions outlined in the ocregister.com article you can find here.