I think that our social setting does allow, or is permissive, about attitudes that disparage elderly individuals. The recent Presidential Campaign did prove that. McCain's age was a topic of fodder for late night comedians, "serious" news casts, as well as in general conversation. In our political setting, concerns that directly impact the aged are not on the priority agenda and politicians know that the aged is a constituency that needs to be worried about only around election time.
Our healthcare system does not support the elderly and poor in this country. We have nursing homes that pay their "nurses" minimum wage and expect those people to give good care to the elderly. Often elderly living in nursing homes are abused and used. Also prescription if very expensive in this country, and the Medicaid is poorly funded, so most elderly spend most of their money on prescription. We are a society that focuses on youth, money, and success, and we do not acknowledge the people in our lives that have helped to build our country and make it what it is today.
There are so many ways that the elderly are discriminated against in America.
Elders are confronted with Medicare-D and various different agencies that attempt to confound and confuse elders into selecting a plan for their drug coverage. Because this process is made confusing, many elders do not have adequate drug coverage through the Medicare D supplemental coverage.
Technology is confusing to many elders. The conversion to Digital televison seems to overwhelm the sensibilities of many elders. They see no reason to go and buy a new "box" for a television that works perfectly fine.
Many seniors do not understand the cell phone commands at all.
Seniors are treated as though they are "in the way" because they are slow in a check-out line.
Seniors are sometimes treated as though their ideas or opinions are insignificant in today's society.
Seniors are easy prey for con-artists who gain entry into the homes of elders through the use of roof-repair or other such scams.
Because of the frail health of some seniors, they are placed into homes for assisted living or nursing homes. Due to communication problems, many seniors suffer from mal-nutrition and neglect at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them.
Many seniors are abused by their children who have Power of Attorney to care for them. These "children" take advantage of the bank-access and take money for themselves that they should not take.
As elderly persons require more care, there are fewer people able or willing in the family of an elderly person who are able to provide that care. This forces families to hire help to come in and clean, sit with, or help with meals and medications for the senior who wants to stay at home in his or her old age. Some of these care givers are slack in their performance of their job duties and neglect to properly care for the elders in their care.
I am sure that others have more ideas.
They are discriminated in various ways such as mandatory retirement, and in the way they are treated by others. I have been in more than one restaurant where the waiter had brought a child's serving for an adult thinking he wouldn't be able to eat it all and the customer got very upset and the waietr ended up fired.