Ageism and Health Examined by National Poll on Healthy Aging

Jul 15, 2020

New results from the National Poll on Healthy Aging find that more than 80% of those polled say they commonly experience at least one form of ageism in their day-to-day lives.

Carried out by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation with support from AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center, the poll involved a national sample of more than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80.

The poll was taken in December, before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and introduced new health risks for older adults. But the researchers hope the findings will inform efforts to address assumptions about older adults’ thoughts and experiences, and any age-based discrimination and negative consequences on health and well-being that may arise because of of the pandemic.

Two in three older adults (65%) reported exposure to ageist messages in their day-to-day lives. This included often or sometimes hearing, seeing, and/or reading jokes about old age, aging, or older people (61%) or hearing, seeing, and/or reading things suggesting that older adults and aging are unattractive or undesirable (38%).

For more information, including detailed poll results and methodology, see the National Poll on Healthy Aging report on “Ageism and Health.”