- By Beth Baker
Public perceptions of growing older differ widely from what gerontology experts now know about aging, a new report confirms.
The public’s perceptions are “decidedly negative” and “contribute to an overall sense of fatalism about what can be done on behalf of older Americans as a demographic group,” according to the report, Gauging Aging: Mapping the Gaps between Expert and Public Understanding of Aging in America. It’s from the nonprofit FrameWorks Institute. Based on interviews with experts in aging and a cross-section of the public, the report is the first phase of a collaborative effort by major aging organizations (including AARP, the National Council on Aging and the Gerontological Society of America).
As a result of the misperceptions of growing older, our society is ill-prepared for the future. Without strong public support for age-friendly public policies, the U.S. will continue to lag in improving the transportation system, the housing stock and access to cultural and recreational opportunities so that all can benefit.
In particular, the report critiqued “the individualism model,” which makes older Americans responsible for themselves and “directs attention away from the idea of a larger public and collective responsibility to adapt public infrastructure in support of older America.”
So how does your aging IQ stack up? To find out, try the quiz below.