The dictionary defines ageism as a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment. Ageism is one of the pervasive prejudices throughout our society. The stereotyping and the tendency to discriminate people on the basis of their age is a practice that may be casual or systematic in nature. Ageism may come in several different forms around the globe, but it can often lead to elder mistreatment, elder abuse, manipulation, and denial of proper services. These behaviors are often most prevalent in institutions. Despite the fact that many seniors today are able to swim long distances, run miles, and perform other feats of great strength, there are persistent stereotypes about what it means to age in America. The concept of aging calls to mind drooling, a need for diapers, slow thoughts, and movements, and rocking chairs for many people, and these thoughts contribute to ageism. There are numerous stereotypes about the elderly out there that are simply not true. The way we view the aging process may very well influence how we age. Research has linked negative perceptions of aging in people over the age of 50 with an average 7.5-year decrease in life span. That link could have a huge impact on our population. In 2010, people over age 65 comprised some 13 percent of the U.S. population. That's about 40 million Americans, a number expected to increase to 55 million by 2020. And the number of people ages 85 and older will increase from 5.7 million...