Ageisim - rejecting an older person

Ageism – a Global Problem

Tackling the problem of world-wide age discrimination today.

By John Coleman

When I came up with the Think Differently About Ageing Campaign – for Action For Elders launch at The House of Commons in October 2018 – I originally envisaged it as way to bring people to our Balanced Lives health and well-being programmes for older people. It was also designed to put Action For Elders’ message across about the importance of healthy ageing.

Fast forward a few years and I began to be aware of an increasingly negative attitude toward older people. Think Differently About Ageing has now taken on a life of its own and it has become abundantly clear that a robust, ongoing campaign against ageist stereotyping is urgently needed.

There’s too much negativity about ageing, in society and also in the workplace.

James Lewis

CEO - Action for Elders

The Social and Economic Cost of Ageism

I am not the only one with these views of course: Ageism has been recognised as a global problem by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Their report, released in March 2021 found that ageism leads to poorer health, social isolation, earlier deaths and can cost economies billions. It called for: ‘urgent action to implement effective anti-ageism strategies.’

The big question is, how many world leaders, UK Politicians and indeed, local Government organisations have taken action to tackle what is an ongoing social and economic problem? Some local politicians, especially those in South Wales have engaged with these issues, along with Swansea Council who have been working with us on one of our Balanced Lives Social Hubs in Swansea.

A Long Term Issue

The United Nations (UN) has recognised the longevity of the problem and have launched an ambitious, decade-long global collaboration. The United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030) is certainly a step in the right direction and very welcome news to Action For Elders, who have built their Balanced Lives programmes and ethos for the last decade on establishing a formula for living well in older life.

Breaking The Age Code

Dr Becca Levy, Yale Professor and pioneer in the field of later life studies, has produced one of the best books of the last few years on the complicated subject of ageing. Breaking The Age Code is meticulously researched and packed with surprising insights. It’s a powerful book that shows how negative age beliefs are not only a barrier to good mental health, they are ingrained within society. You can read the review of the book on our Book Club page.


A Solution to the Problem

Only by challenging preconceptions on ageing and by valuing older employees can we move forward as a society. Giving people the tools to stay healthy, both physically and mentally can benefit the whole of society. It is also clear that combating ageism can actually help people of all ages.

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