This Saturday, October 7 Ageism Awareness Day seeks to remind all Australians of the harmful and damaging effects of stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment directed towards older Australians.
The day was pioneered by EveryAGE Counts and is now Australia’s national campaign against ageism.
A spokesperson for the EveryAGE Counts Campaign Robert Tickner said, “ageism is not some hollow empty trendy word, and there was hard evidence that stereotyping and discrimination against older people was damaging to the health and well-being of older Australians in many areas”.
“It often starts when people, in their earlier fifties, are denied jobs or promotions. Later on in life it is often a root cause and contributor to elder abuse and the mistreatment in aged care exposed by the Aged Care Royal Commission”, Mr Tickner said.
“There are so many false assumptions about older people which strip them of their agency and right to control their own lives, as our survey also revealed. Things like false assumptions about the inevitability of dementia as we age, lack of capacity of older people in the workforce when many want to, and are capable of, working, and false assumptions about needing help when many want to be self-reliant. Too often older people are talked down to in the community and in health care which further strips them of their autonomy and dignity.”
“Sure some older people may need support but the bottom line is that it is best to see older people as individuals and not make generalised assumptions or gratuitous, thoughtless and offensive jokes about their age.”
“Our EveryAGE Counts website ( everyagecounts.org.au ) features a fabulous publication called “The Real Old” which I encourage people to read. It is a myth busting publication blowing false stereotypes about ageing out of the water,” Mr Tickner said.