Bias Towards Aging Affects the Medical Treatment Seniors Receive in many cultures in the world, elderly people are revered and their advice is sought and respected. In our culture, the wisdom, the knowledge and the social skills of the elderly are often overlooked and instead we focus on the mental and physical deficits of our older generation.
Because of this prevailing attitude, older people in our society are generally regarded as less valuable than younger people. The younger person has responsibilities of raising a family, maintaining a career and supporting the economy. The older person generally has no responsibilities and in addition is a drag on the economy since a great part of the tax base must go towards the support of older Americans.
It is inevitable that many medical care providers will unconsciously have this same attitude towards their older patients. As a result, if an older person has a medical complaint and the cause is not readily apparent, a medical practitioner is more likely to accept the condition as a consequence of old age. This attitude causes practitioners to focus treatment on making the elderly more comfortable in their old age as opposed to finding a cure. In younger people, if the medical complaint is interfering with normal daily function, typically a more concerted effort will be made to identify and correct the problem.