Ageing: Combatting Ageism

Perceptions of Ageing

Old Schoolhouse 2.0  — Ashton Applewhite launched Old Schoolhouse 2.0, the go-to website of all things related to combating ageism. Find all you need to join the movement and make a difference in your circles. Download such tools as:  How Olders Can Get Involved in Protecting and Promoting their Human Rights (Age Platform Europe); facts sheet  (Stigma-Free); and a comprehensive Unit on Ageism, Resistance and Alliance (Campus

Anti-Ageism: The Next Big Social Movement  – Ruth Ray Karpen’s excellent review of Margaret Morgenroth Gullette’s Ending Ageism or How Not to Shoot Old People. As an independent scholar famous for an earlier book titled Aged by Culture, Gullette argues that our feelings about ageing are defined by medicine, economics, politics, law, media, the arts, language, and the stories we tell ourselves about getting old. Whether active or passive, aggressions against old people “tear at the social fabric and undermine the wellbeing of all people, young and old,” she writes.

The EveryAGE Counts Project is taking on Australia’s ageist attitudes in all sectors and generations. Led by the Benevolent Society, the national campaign aims to shift attitudes and policies based on prevalent stereotypes of decline by demonstrating that many older persons live happy, fulfilled lives.

Italians Say 75 Not 65. Dr Francesca Ghillani, a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, writes about the public shift in Italy identifying 75 rather than 65 as the age when people are qualified as “elderly.” She says that newspapers and TV news programs welcome this major adjustment. This attention, she said, prompted a question: “What is the significance of a number in defining a person’s life?”

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: How Perceptions of Ageing Affect our Later Years. Learn how perceptions of ageing can have serious affects on health, behaviors, and even longevity. Download this useful research summary from Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging and discover how these perceptions can be changed to promote more positive perceptions of ageing.

Silver Tsunami? Let’s follow the suggestion made by Dr. Bill Thomas in his recent blog “Changing Aging” and discourage use of the term, “silver tsunami.” They say that there are two problems with equating the increasing growth of an older population with the effect of a tsunami – one geological and the other gerontological. A tsunami is generated by sudden displacements, which doesn’t apply to the gradual absorption of Boomers into elderhood, or to the gradual extension of longevity. The gerontological problem is seeing aging exclusively in terms of deficits – physical and cognitive decline. That does not reflect the productivity and other huge assets that older adults bring to all aspects of life.“Dr. Bill,” as he’s called, suggests that we speak instead about a “silver reservoir” that stores essential elements of life for the purpose of supplying them to the community. The water in a reservoir comes from great distances and is accumulated over time. “Let’s turn a destructive tidal wave into an exhilarating wave of the future all generations can ride.” Sounds good to us!!

Watch these two brief videos produced by Leading Age to combat ageism:
Fighting Ageism Be Bold, Claim Old
Celebrate the Aging Journey

Ashton Applewhite – Let’s end ageism. Ageism is a prejudice that pits us against our future selves — and each other. In this video of her TED talk, Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she says. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.”

What is Old? – What age do you consider to be old? AARP posed that question to Millennials and asked them to show what “old” looks like. Then they were introduced to some real “old” people. Watch what happens when folks let go of their outdated beliefs and embrace the idea that ageing is not about decline.  It’s about growth! Learn more about AARP’s efforts to “disrupt aging.”

Rights of Older Persons

Access to Justice in Older Age. This is one of the new areas for an older people’s human rights convention that is being discussed by the UN’s Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. This webinar sponsored by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older Persons (GAROP) explores some of the key issues and barriers related to access to justice. Presentation slides.

Global Age Watch: The Right to Health keeps track of shifts the human rights to health: availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality. The summary spotlights barriers that often exclude older people from health systems and services, and the failure of health systems to keep pace with two global transitions: rapid ageing and expansion of non-communicable diseases affecting older adults particularly. The report offers specific guidance to changes needed to realize older people’s right to health.

“Ageism: A Pervasive and Insidious Health Threat.”  The World Health Organization (WHO) is sponsoring four research teams around the world to study the causes and health consequences of ageism, how to combat it, and how best to measure it. The results will appear in a United Nations report to be published within a year.

Gray Panthers The Gray Panthers is compiling a directory of activist organizations that advocate for the rights of older persons. The purpose of the directory will be to make available a complete database of organizations to encourage communication, advocacy and collaboration.

HelpAge InternationalFreedom to decide for ourselves. Read what older people say about their rights to autonomy and independence, long-term care and palliative care.

HelpAge International – Living, not just surviving. What older people say about their rights to social protection and social security, and to education, training, lifelong learning and capacity building. Downloads available in English, Russia, Arabic and Spanish.

Human Rights Advocacy. Take a look at HelpAge International’s new “FAIR” guidelines for four steps aimed at effective advocacy for a UN convention on the rights of older people. You can download the guidelines in English, Arabic, Spanish and Russian.

Human Rights and the Status of Older Women in New Delhi.  Do older women in your area do better than their sisters in New Delhi? The Agewell Foundation published this latest study on March 8, 2018 to coincide with International Women’s Day. The 25th in a remarkable series of in-depth studies on ageing in India, the report highlights the plight of older women in Delhi. The conclusion states, “Older women have always been marginalized from the mainstream of the society.” Living as second class citizens for centuries, most of them illiterate, they have not yet enjoyed privileges and potential offered by development.

In Our Own Words. Read what older people say about their experience with discrimination and human rights in older age in this consultation report developed by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP).

Open Ended Working Group on Ageing OEWGA’s purpose is to strengthen protection of the human rights of older people around the world.  Read the summary of the history, resolutions and actions of the UN’s OEWGA.