Ageism – Language and Terminology

“Our language and data collection really has to catch up with new realities. People are living longer, people of all ages have different life styles, and there are many different health and disability issues in all age groups. Ageism and assumptions about ageing are embedded in our language and this affects our thinking, behaviour, attitudes and ways we relate to other people. Age UK London’s Age Allies programme gives participants the chance to reflect on their own assumptions, the ways in which age affects them, and how they relate and think about different people.”

In this week’s blog, Age Allies volunteer Jackie reflects on the ways in which ageism is prevalent in our language and terminology.

unthinking ageism workplace

How can Businesses Avoid the Trap of Unthinking Ageism?  

“Older people in these great numbers, still in good health, have not existed before. We are creating a fresh market, a new challenge, one that is not yet understood. How can it be? Having achieved this extended active later life, these bonus years, we have created a world that is new for all. Those of us already exploring that world have been happily surprised by how enjoyable a time it is. Certainly not the doom image painted by the media. But it is different – much that you took for granted no longer operates in the same way. Small new problems appear that you hadn’t realised would be there. And, you discover, it isn’t just you, many businesses and organisations have no map for this world, so they cant help either. Again, how could they have? Few travellers have as yet wandered this fresh landscape and reported back.”

This week’s blog is a guest post from blogger Grandma Joyce Williams, who writes a whole host of different articles on ageing and ageism, to reveal just how great later life can be. In this piece, Joyce puts forward several ways in which businesses can become more age friendly by avoiding the trap of unthinking ageism!

age discrimination employment

Age Discrimination in Employment

“This week saw the Women and Equalities Committee publish a report on older people and employment. It did not make for pleasant reading. The report uncovered that more than a million people aged 50+ are seeing their talents overlooked due to discrimination, bias, and outdated employment practices.”

This week on the blog we’re looking into the findings of the Women and Equalities Committee and discussing some of the proposed solutions.

Age Allies Blog #6 – Volunteers

“There is a commonly held belief that as people get older they become less competent. My experience of developing the Age Allies Workshops in collaboration with a group of volunteers, underlines how absurd this notion of older people actually is. The creativity, insight and commitment they bring to the table makes our development meetings productive and great fun. Authentic, open, honest and intelligent are the words that spring to mind. Oh yes, and highly competent!”

This week on the Age Allies Blog, Project Coordinator Richard Norman opens the floor to two of the Age Allies volunteers, who discuss their experiences of the project.

What can Councils do for older Londoners?

What can Councils do for Older Londoners?

“Many of the things we are calling on Councils to do also help tackle loneliness, a problem for many older people (and not only older people). A preventive approach to health and social care could support services like befriending which tackle isolation. Better pavement and street repair and more accessible neighbourhoods will encourage people to come out and take part in their local community.”

With the local council elections taking place this week, Gordon Deuchars answers the question: What can Councils do to make their boroughs age friendly?

An older man and two older women laughing over a cup of tea

Our Manifesto: Make London’s Boroughs Age Friendly!

“The London local elections are rapidly approaching, with polling day set for Thursday May 3rd. Four years on from the last London borough elections, all London borough councillor seats are set to be decided, alongside Mayoral contests in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

As London continues to grow in size, the number of older Londoners is increasing too – a 2016 estimate revealed that over a million Londoners were aged 65+ and 140,000 of that total were over the age of 85. A socially and economically diverse demographic, older Londoners contribute massively to every borough of the capital, as paid workers, volunteers, carers, family members, community activists, and in a whole host of other ways. As the number of older Londoners continues to increase, so too will these vital contributions to city life.

However, there are also a large number of older Londoners who are experiencing poverty and inequality, just like London’s other demographics. Whilst poverty amongst older people had been falling, there has sadly been a recent increase in the number of people who have dipped below the poverty line in later life. London’s housing crisis continues to affect people of all ages, with a serious lack of affordable housing in many areas. Loneliness too is an intergenerational concern, yet isolation is a particular concern for the older generation. The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has discovered that ‘more than 1 in 3 people aged 75 and over say that feelings of loneliness are out of their control.'”

Age UKs across London are proud to present “Make London’s Boroughs Age Friendly!” a manifesto for the upcoming London borough Council elections.

A view of London overlooking the Thames.

When will London join the Global Age Friendly Cities Network?

“When will the capital join the global Age Friendly Cities network? Manchester and Bristol are marching ahead and Southwark has taken the plunge – so what can be done to commit London to join the global Age Friendly Cities Network? New York is a member but when you search #agefriendlylondon you find yourself reading about London in Canada! London’s piecemeal approach is indicative of lack of leadership and collaboration on older people’s issues.”

How can we get London to be as age friendly as possible? Jane Scobie investigates…

A starry night sky

Close Encounters of the Third Age

“We have looked at, and tried out a number of exercises designed to achieve this, from simple small group discussions to various role-play scenarios, but they weren’t cutting the mustard. One of our number, Vanda, who, incidentally used to teach games design, came up with the concept of a board game. This idea has really captured everyone’s imagination and our last few development meetings (now described as board meetings) have been fun and intensely creative events.”

Richard Norman keeps us updated on the Age Allies program, which now has its own board game – Close Encounters of the Third Age!

Age Allies Programme

Develop your Team with Free Age Awareness Training!

As humans we have a strong tendency to organise our social worlds by categorising and we all hold unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups. These biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. If our society categorises “older people” as all those over a particular age, say fifty, then we are likely to see all those who arbitrarily fit that categorisation as having commonalities. Our assumptions about those commonalities are informed by our unconscious beliefs.

The Age Allies Programme is a unique opportunity to develop age awareness within your team. Age UK London are delivering these FREE half day workshops to businesses and organisations all across London.

Christmas Quiz

Age Allies #5 – A Christmas Quiz!

“The assumptions we make about people affect how we interact with them. In terms of customer service this can have a profound effect on the customer experience and the outcome of the encounter. My assumption is that you would want your customers to feel valued as individuals.”

This month’s Age Allies blog features a Christmas Quiz to try and challenge the assumptions we make about older people’s physical appearances! See how highly you can score!