Rise of Ageism Due to Your Health
The rise of ageism appears often when our health or our peer’s health fails. I was on an Encore Network call where we heard an interesting story.
A company hired an “older” worker and within the first 3 months, the new hire needed a hip replacement. This was a job that required them to be in the office. We discussed whether the employer would still be willing to hire an “older” worker in the future given the average recovery time is 2-3 months.
This led to a broader discussion of how our health encourages or discourages the rise of ageism.
How well we manage our health will affect whether we are considered “old”.
The Financial Effects of Managing our Health
Fidelity Investments publishes the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate report annually and for 2022 it stated the following:
An average retired couple age 65 in 2022 may need approximately $315,000 saved (after tax) to cover health care expenses in retirement.
That is above and beyond what Medicare or any other form of insurance will pay.
That is the average amount of money that you will need.
If you are in your 40s or 50s, now is the time to focus on diet, exercise, stress management, and your mental well-being. As the graphic above states clearly to be healthy you need to focus on your spirit, body, and mind.
From a financial perspective, it just makes sense to take your health seriously.
Rise of Ageism Due to Health Considerations
I experienced ageism at my last tech startup in multiple ways. Both in how I was treated but also when I tried to hire an employee who was about the same age as I was. I was told by my boss that this individual “did not have the energy” for the job. This is code for he was too old.
By the time, I left the job and the company, I was worn out both mentally and physically. I did not know how to say no to my boss when the job started to affect my health. I later read the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown which I now recommend to many in the Career Pivot Community.
As I write this post, I am 66 years of age, and in the best health, I have been for as long as I can remember. Does this change how I am perceived when I walk into a room? I sure think so.
My mental health is improving as I focus on what I need.
I have discussed this before in the post Ageism is Alive and Well, and We Just Have to Deal with It!
Focus on the Things You Can Control
The things I can control include:
- Exercise – I now block out time for exercise which includes biking, hiking, and yoga. It helps a lot that I am close to many trailheads and can hop on my bicycle from my front door.
- Diet – I can get fresh produce to put in my smoothie every morning. I have eliminated red meat and moved to plant-based proteins. I do eat pork, chicken, and seafood.
- Medical – I am a guy who does not like going to the doctor. I have been getting regular physicals from my general practitioner and seeing my dermatologist once a year. It is so much easier in dealing with the healthcare system here in Mexico.
- Chiropractic – For years in Austin, I saw my chiropractor every other week. I have restarted that practice and it has been very beneficial. I have had back issues my entire life and regular chiropractic visits have proven to be beneficial. I discontinued that practice when I moved to Mexico.
- Meditation – I am not great at this but I find meditation to be very helpful.
- Hearing – I will be getting my hearing checked when I am in Austin in October. I tested my hearing recently using an online test. I do have some hearing loss and I suffer from tinnitus in my right ear.
Have You Had Your Hearing Checked
My wife finally had her hearing checked in 2019 and was fitted with hearing aids. It has made a tremendous difference.
I have been a professional communicator for much of my career and even taught communication skills. In my honest opinion, my wife developed several habits to compensate for not hearing well. I will not get into those habits as we have been married for 41 years.
My wife did not want to get tested because she assumed that the hearing aids would be ugly. The hearing aids are nearly undetectable unless you know what you are looking for. She can control them from an app on her iPhone and adjust them for different environments.
As you cross the magic age of 45, the number of people who would benefit from a hearing aid grows significantly but the number who get them is relatively small.
If you had some hearing loss do you think that would affect your ability to perform your job at work? Would working with someone older who has obvious hearing loss shape your opinion of older workers as a whole? Would it promote the rise of ageism?
I would think so.
What Can You Do?
Take responsibility for your health. It pays to do so.
Do not try to change everything at once. Maybe start just by getting active. You might then take up meditation. Schedule your doctor visits for the next year. You might even very slowly change your diet.
If you want to battle the rise of ageism focus on your own health.
In a later post, I will discuss how our own age beliefs affect our health!Marc Miller