It is an unfortunate fact of social life that whenever and where ever a minority of people are oppressed and discriminated against by the majority, the minority group is under intense pressure to endorse and validate the majority’s stereotyped image of them.
From the Wiki…
Ageism has significant effects on the elderly and young people. The stereotypes and infantilization of older and younger people by patronizing language affects older and younger people’s self-esteem and behaviors. After repeatedly hearing a stereotype that older or younger people are useless, older and younger people may begin to feel like dependent, non-contributing members of society. They may start to perceive themselves in terms of the looking-glass self–that is, in the same ways that others in society see them. Studies have also specifically shown that when older and younger people hear these stereotypes about their supposed incompetence and uselessness, they perform worse on measures of competence and memory. These stereotypes then become self-fulfilling prophecies. Older and younger people may also engage in self-stereotypes, taking their culture’s age stereotypes—to which they have been exposed over the life course—and directing them inward toward themselves. Then this behavior reinforces the present stereotypes and treatment of the elderly.[14
Bold is mine.
As a result, older people adopt ageist attitudes and beliefs. Many older people are actually more ageist than younger people. Instead of making commonplace observations like— “Our memory changes as we age” or “I can’t walk as fast as I used to…” older people often CONNECT these observations to the stereotyped image of aging and use them to validate that image.
It can be different.
Consider the advice offered by a 91 year old British spindle maker.
When rooms at Windsor Castle burnt out a few years ago, the Queen asked Maurice to make a new set of spindles for her staircase and invited him to tea to thank him for it too. “Did you grow up in the East End?” she enquired politely, and when Maurice nodded in modest confirmation of this, she extended her sympathy to him. “That must have been hard?” she responded with a empathetic smile, although with characteristic frankness Maurice disagreed. “I had a loving family,” he told her plainly, “That’s all you need for a happy childhood, you don’t need palaces for that.”
We do change when we age! But those changes can and should be understood on their own terms, not as building blocks for the stone wall of ageism.