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Discrimination against individuals based on their age has serious consequences for older people in impacting their health as well as affecting public policy. Negative stereotypes often become engrained in health and social care systems where older people require the most support.

Ageism and age discrimination can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs. This socially ingrained ageism can become self-fulfilling by promoting in older people stereotypes of social isolation, physical and cognitive decline, lack of physical activity and economic burden.

The issue of the employment of ‘older workers’ and the ageing workforce has featured prominently in policy documents for more than a decade. Defining what is meant by an ‘older worker,’ however, is becoming more problematic in the context of employment laws and financial protection, including pensions and social security. Given that ageism is an important exclusion factor for older workers on labor markets a transformational change is required with a systematic strategy to confront and resolve age discrimination in employment.

Rather than steering older people towards predetermined social purposes, public-health policy would be better aimed at empowering older people to achieve things previous generations could never imagine. Tackling ageism will require building and embedding in the thinking of all generations, a new understanding of ageing. (WHO, 2015)

Combating Ageism Sub-Themes

  • Abuse Against Older Persons
  • Access to Health and Social Care
  • End of Life Care
  • Access to Work
  • Social Exclusion
  • Income Security 

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Ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada according to the Revera Report on Ageism, produced by Revera and the IFA in 2012.

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Revera Report on Ageism 2012

References

  • World Health Organization. (2015). World report on ageing and health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ageing/events/world-report-2015-launch/en/