When we think about age discrimination and ageism, we often equate it with the workplace. It’s the older worker who gets fired right before retirement to make room for the younger, cheaper worker. It’s the person in their 50s or 60s who can’t get a job, despite their experience.

However, the truth is that ageism is something that is a societal issue. It’s not just the workplace. It can impact all areas of life.

Experts define ageism as situations where people treat “older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention.”

Essentially, it’s thinking less of the elderly because of their age. It means not giving them the respect they deserve. Some have said that even calling them “cute” can be a sign of ageism. It shows that people are not thinking of the elderly as other human beings, but as something to be overlooked.

If this type of thinking makes its way in a nursing home or assisted living center, it can absolutely lead to neglect. If someone thinks that the elderly do not really deserve their respect and attention — due to mental deterioration, health problems, emotional issues and much more — can they really give them the type of care that they deserve? Or are they more likely to neglect them since they’re barely thinking of them as people in the first place, relegating them to a place as second-class citizens?

Have you seen signs of neglect in your loved one while they live in an assisted living facility? If you think it’s happening, you need to know what legal options you have to take action and protect them.