Our aged society represents both our most significant social transformation and our most significant accomplishment. There is a 50 percent chance that a girl born today would live to reach her 100th birthday, and by 2026, there will be 14.1 million individuals aged 65 and older, which is 2.3 million more than in 2016, representing a 19.5 percent rise in the span of ten years.
Our longer lives are a remarkable success storey of public health, nutrition, and medical technology, and we should be proud of it. At the Center for Ageing Better, we want everyone to have a fulfilling later life experience. Unfortunately, unfavourable attitudes about the elderly pose a danger to this ideal. The age quotes on Reneturrek will help you understand it better.
Despite the fact that age is one of the nine protected characteristics under the United Kingdom’s Equality Act 2010, it is nevertheless considered socially acceptable to discriminate against people of a certain age. Product marketing, the fashion and retail industries, media depictions, and even charitable organisations may all contribute to the reinforcement of unfavourable stereotypes.
We recently had a discussion with a diverse group of people and organisations to discuss how we can work together to shatter the taboo surrounding ageism and other forms of discrimination
There were five main takeaways from the talk that we were able to identify.
- We need to reassess what we consider to be “aged.”
The term “older folks” is frequently used to refer to anyone above the age of 60. This covers 40 years and demonstrates the vast changes between people. Older generations are getting more and more diversified, and this trend will continue in the future. We would never dare to believe that everyone under the age of 40 is the same!
Despite tremendous increases in the average length of our lives, we continue to adopt an antiquated definition of what constitutes “old.”
It is imperative that we cease idolising youth and viewing old age as a period of sorrow.
Recent research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that young individuals are more at risk of loneliness than older people, which contradicts popular belief. It is critical that we modify the way we discourse about old age as soon as possible.
Decline, incapacity, and suffering are not inherent experiences of old age, and we must stop treating them as such. We need to start thinking of our extended lives as something to be cherished rather than something to be feared.
After all, research reveals that our level of personal satisfaction grows as we approach our 60th birthday.
- The transition from anti-aging to pro-aging.
Take a walk down any high street and you’ll notice a plethora of items being pushed as anti-ageing, supporting the notion that becoming older is something to be avoided at all costs.
Ageing is the most natural thing that may happen to us; we shouldn’t try to prevent it.
It doesn’t rule out the possibility of maintaining a youthful appearance as we age. Our panel (as well as the live audience) argued that goods should be advertised as pro-ageing, implying that we may maintain our youthful appearance as we get older.
- We require a greater number of different role models.
Many great role models exist in older life, ranging from Hollywood celebrities to athletes and community leaders — and even politicians. We come across these on a regular basis.
However, in advertising and on television, there are fewer actual role models that represent the diversity of older people as a whole.
Our popular culture must reflect and make individuals in their 60s, 70s, and 80s more visible, as well as more visible in general. And it doesn’t only refer to the occasional article about an actor who is “ageing gracefully” or someone who has taken up skydiving in their 80s (however remarkable that may be!).
- When preconceptions have an impact on reality
When we are perceived as ‘aged,’ these negative stereotypes have an impact on how we are treated, including whether we are hired for employment, considered for promotions, regarded as valuable consumers, or entitled to services, among other things. Once those over the age of 50 are out of work, they struggle more than those in younger age groups to find new employment. According to our research on the role of home adaptations, many are deterred from having goods such as handrails built in their houses because they do not want to admit that they are becoming older and becoming less physically mobile. According to our research on Inequalities in later life, chronological age can be a barrier to treatment for a variety of physical and mental health issues, including diabetes.
There are 14.1 million individuals aged 65 and older in the UK, representing a 19.5 percent rise in the span of ten years. Ageism may be eliminated in five simple actions, such as re-evaluating what it means to be “aged” and changing our view of what constitutes “old”. We need to start thinking of our extended lives as something to be cherished rather than feared. Ageing is the most natural thing that may happen to us; we shouldn’t try to prevent it. Our popular culture must reflect and make individuals in their 60s, 70s, and 80s more visible, as well as more visible in general.