Today is the International Day of Older Persons whose focus is on the impact of pandemics on older people, with ageism a central plank of this. A new campaign seeks to tackle ageism.
Today is the International Day for Older Persons. The day was inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990 in recognition of increasing longevity and the impact of this across the world. The theme of this year’s day is how pandemics change how we address age and ageing.
With figures out this week from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on how Covid-19 has affected retirement plans and figures showing an increase in economic inactivity among older workers in recent months, there are concerns that older workers could find themselves pushed out of work and struggling to find a new job at the same time as retirement ages are rising.
One of the main barriers to finding a new job is ageism and a new campaign launched this week to tackle it. Guild Living, which delivers academically-led, innovative ways to promote independent living, is behind the campaign. It says the coronavirus pandemic “has shone a light on the shocking way that our society and policymakers treat older people”.
It is partnering with a range of organisations, from Legal & General to United for all ages, for its STOPageism campaign. It says there are three main ways people can stamp out ageism:
1. Changing our language
The campaign says: “The language we use to describe older people is overwhelmingly negative. So we’re campaigning to change it. Why is it still acceptable to use outright discriminatory terms for older people in society? Instead, we want to define people by who they really are and the value they bring.”
2. Changing our cities
The aim is to promote greater access, inclusivity and independence.
3. Changing our services
The campaign wants to make financial and technology services easier, safer and fairer to use.
The campaign’s partners have written articles on different aspects of ageism for the launch. Stephen Burke of United for all ages writes about the need to bring people together across the generations. He says: “Generations of younger and older people have seen their lives put on hold since March 2020. And there have been attempts to pin the blame on other generations. Age segregation and ageism are rife in our society, affecting all our lives every day and running through all aspects of our lives and throughout the media, on and offline.”