What is Ageism?
1st October is Ageism Awareness Day but what is Ageism?
Prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age (Oxford Dictionary)
Ageism can be discrimination towards individuals or groups of younger or older people. It is derived from negative beliefs and attitudes toward the young or aged people – these sources can be from media, movies, and advertising. Stereotypical imagery of younger people being: irresponsible, unwilling to work, or will move on quickly; and older people as frail, out-of-touch, lonely, burden on society and/or worthless. These negative beliefs are embedded into Australian society so much so that legislation has been put in place to stop ageism and abuse of our older and younger citizens.
Ageism impacts older people’s health by worsening their physical and mental health, accelerating cognitive decline, exacerbating social isolation and reducing access to employment, education, and health care. In youth it promotes lack of confidence, negative expectations from employers and society in general toward them.
It has been found that policy and legislation are needed to play an important part in providing equality and the protection of basic human rights for all ages, races, nationality and creeds.
In the attempt to eliminate Ageism, we would endeavor to change the negative beliefs of stereotypical age-related myths embedded in Australian’s belief systems. Education and inter-generational interventions are a practical and personal activity for different age groups to discuss misconceptions and fallacy involving their period of life. Negative and misunderstood ideologies can be replaced with respect, acceptance and understanding of humanity and equity for all.