Saturday, April 09, 2011

United Kingdom: Ageism of Greatest Concern to Older Population

Demos and Brunel University have released a study looking at aging policy from older people’s point of view, finding, among other things, that the very negative narratives about an aging society that conceptualise aging and older people as a problem are contributing to many older people feeling demoralised and disengaged from politics and the policy-making process. In fact, according to one of the authors of the study, agism to be a greater concern than crime among older people: "Whereas ageism was discussed vigorously in every one of our research groups, crime did not receive a single mention."

"Coming of Age", authored by Louise Bazalgette, John Holden, Philip Tew, Nick Hubble, and Jago Morriso, finds that age discrimination was felt to impact on every area of older people’s lives; in employment, in public services, in public places and even in family life. With respect to work and retirement, in particular, the study finds that the United Kingdom's "one size fits all" approach to retirement policy may itself be discriminatory and counter-productive, since it is those with the worst health and the lowest life expectancies who will suffer most from increases in the state pension age.

Accordingly, the authors suggest that, to "mitigate these problems it will be essential that the government both takes action to improve general health and reduce health inequalities, and investigates how employment can be made more flexible to reflect the heterogeneity of older people’s skills, personal responsibilities (eg caring roles) and health prospects."

Source: DEMOS "Putting a stop to age discrimination" (April 8, 2011)

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