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Age Discrimination-Ageism In The Age of Covid-19 Pandemic
During the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, special attention has been paid to the older adults described as particularly vulnerable groups who are exceptionally negatively affected by this situation. All the restrictions imposed to protect their health and preserve their lives ultimately exacerbate the long-standing problem of isolating the older adults and the health consequences of the social disconnect that existed long before the pandemic. With the pandemic, ageism has reached a new level of discrimination with the hashtag #BoomerRemover. This excessively obscene concept highlights two prevailing views in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: (1): The older adults are 'sitting ducks,' vulnerable and helpless against COVID-19. High mortality rates among the older adults are considered an 'inevitable' and 'normal' outcome of this pandemic; (2) Healthy young people consider themselves invulnerable to COVID-19 and, as a result, may not realize the importance of adhering to public health advice and policies on infection prevention. Although mortality rates from COVID-19 are higher in older adults than in other age groups, we are concerned that age is associated exclusively with weakness and comorbidity. When medical equipment and hospital facilities become scarce, caregivers may be faced with ethical decisions about whose life is a priority, and age can become a deciding factor. It is tempting to fall into gross utilitarianism that values live differently. We oppose one group to another and give lower priority to those to whom lower values are attributed. As concerned advocates and researchers interested in aging, we should be aware of age discrimination and reduce the ageistic attitudes propagated during COVID-19. Now is the time to create a broader awareness of negative stereotypes towards older people and their harmful effects, as well as the benefits of older people, their valuable contribution to society, and their potential.