Take a Stand Against Ageism

‘Take a stand against ageism’ is this years mantra for International day of older persons. For older people, ageism is an everyday challenge. Older people are overlooked for employment, restricted from social services and stereotyped in the media. Ageism marginalises and excludes older people in their communities and society as a whole. When it comes to your older years, the time should be spent enjoying life to the max not being sheltered away and left to rot.

Ageism is everywhere, yet is the most socially normalised of any prejudice.

  • Older persons are portrayed in the media as senile, clumsy, uncooperative, “not with it”, “batty” and not independent.
  • Doctors avoid screening for preventable diseases and use care guidelines for younger people not thinking about the needs of the elderly.
  • Government policy does not strategise for investment in infrastructure for the needs of ageing populations.
  • Employers will disregard older applicants even though they have a wealth of knowledge and are more likely to stay in the role.
  • Companies design products and services based on younger markets and ignore the vast demographic of older persons whose buying power is just as great if not greater then the youth of today.

All of these issues build up to marginalise older persons within our society and WHO’s International Day of Older Persons is there to highlight the issues the older generation faces and help combat the endemic ageism in countries across the world. This year, the World Health Organization adopted the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health and a related resolution at the 69th World Health Assembly, in which the WHO Director-General is called on to lead a Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, to support local and international partners in their efforts to change policies and practices.

Read more about the day on WHOs website or read their mission statement here.