For older people, ageism exists – everyday, and yes, it’s challenging and heart-breaking.
More often than not, older people (50 years plus) are:
- Overlooked for employment
- Restricted from social services
- Stereotyped in the media
- Marginalised and excluded from their communities
Ageism seems to be everywhere – and quite often is socially normalised and accepted.
Ageism is portrayed from every angle – especially in the media, with characters who are older being seen as senile, nosey (remember Mrs Mangel from Neighbours?), annoying, interfering, foolish, etc.
These common attitudes, lead to the marginalisation of older people within our communities and have negative impacts on their health and well-being. Older people who feel they are a burden may also perceive their lives to be less valuable, putting them at risk of depression and social isolation.
This year, we challenge everyone to identify and question these internalised ageist attitudes, and to understand the serious impact that these attitudes have.
“Take a Stand against Ageism” is the theme of the International Day of Older Persons for 2016.
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.
A demographic revolution is underway throughout the world. Today, world-wide, there are around 600 million persons aged 60 years and over; this total will double by 2025 and will reach virtually two billion by 2050 – the vast majority of them in the developing world.
In our fast ageing world, older people will increasingly play a critical role – through volunteer work, transmitting experience and knowledge, helping their families with caring responsibilities and increasing their participation in the paid labour force.
The International Day of Older Persons is observed on October 1 each year.
The day is celebrated by raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly, such as elder abuse. It is also a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society.