Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ageism in Sri Lankan Politics


Ageism is discrimination against individuals on the basis of their age. Ageism has detrimental and harmful effects on the psychological well-being of old people. Negative beliefs and attitudes towards older adults are increasingly prevalent. Generalized negative perceptions of the elderly are very common in the political arena. Ageism is thriving in Sri Lankan politics. Some groups openly denounce senior citizens engaging in politics. Growing disgust toward the elderly in society ought to be discussed.
Generational conflict is a common occurrence in a society. The younger generation tends to think that the elder generation is a hindering factor for their socio-economic growth. Yet, elderly, experienced people are an asset in many fields. Accumulated life experience is an important foundation for wisdom. Their life experiences are a guidepost for the younger generation. Young people have a lot to learn from their elders.
Antipathy toward the elderly could lead to social chaos. The mistreatment of older adults can become a social problem, and it has a certain root cause. A cycle of violence can turn child trauma victims into perpetrators. Some people with childhood trauma view the process of aging unfavorably with a judgmental attitude. They lacked empathy and had a disintegrated family system when they were growing up. According to research, elder abuse is more common among adult children with abuse histories.

Some radical political parties use ageism as a political tactic, and they encourage their followers to judge elderly people according to age-based stereotypes. They use exclusionary stigmatization of older people with prejudices and stereotyped views. This is unacceptable and has deleterious outcome for the society. It's important to highlight that during the Cambodian genocide, the Khmer Rouge used ageism to eliminate its own elderly population.

Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.


  1. Thank you Doctor for addressing a disturbing trend in Sri Lanka that has been bothering me too. No one including seniors in Sri Lanka has taken this on. You ought to publish this in more places, translate to Sinhala, maybe start a discussion

  2. Then "Okay Boomer" slang should consider an ageist slogan as well

    1. indeed it is considered to be ageist, please google and see for yourself Sir

  3. On this topic, the apathy of Sri Lankan patriots here and overseas/ expatriates astound me. Is it because as a group our sensitivities are dependent on which political group says it and our affinity to that group?


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