Aging and Disability Beyond Stereotypes to Inclusion: Proceedings of a Workshop

Many different groups of people are subject to stereotypes. Positive stereotypes (e.g., “older and wiser”) may provide a benefit to the relevant groups. However, negative stereotypes of aging and of disability continue to persist and, in some cases, remain socially acceptable. Research has shown that when exposed to negative images of aging, older persons demonstrate poor physical and cognitive performance and function, while those who are exposed to positive images of aging (or who have positive self-perceptions of aging) demonstrate better performance and function. Furthermore, an individual’s expectations about and perceptions of aging can predict future health outcomes. To better understand how stereotypes affect older adults and individuals with disabilities, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with support from AARP, convened a public workshop on October 10, 2017. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.