A glimpse into the public perception of old age and ageing in the UK Within the last fifty years, the population pyramids of most European countries have seen clear changes in age structure, with Italy and Germany amongst the oldest societies in the world. Looking at the United Kingdom, the median age has risen noticeably over the last two decades, from 37.5 years in 2000 to 40.2 years in 2019. The share of persons aged 65 years or over stands now at almost 19% of the UK’s total population, resulting in an old-age dependency ratio of 28.9%—meaning that there are […]
“Next up, “Age Ally” Chris took to the stage to give an impassioned speech on the ways in which the Age Allies project had shaped his understanding of age and ageing – even as an older Londoner himself! Chris explained how he had thoroughly enjoyed working with Richard and his fellow Age Allies to help “plant a seed” in the minds of the workshop attendees.”
This month we said farewell to our Age Allies programme, which has come to an end after three successful years. Find out how our goodbye event “Age Allies: Legacy” celebrated the work of the project and suggested ways in which the learning from the project could be carried forward into future campaigns across the age sector.
In April of this year, Age UK London’s Age Allies project took part in “Age/ncy”, an intergenerational arts display organised by Flourishing Lives at Tate Modern. Of the course of the weekend, dozens of organisations from across London put on exhibitions, workshops, installations and performances that challenged stereotypical assumptions of older people.
We have now had time to reflect on the weekend as a whole and to assess all the information we received when running our workshops. Let’s take a look at some of the findings…
“The attitudes we hold to age and ageing are creating the world in which our future selves will live. We have the potential to make enormous positive changes for the benefit of everyone. As our population ages the consequences of inaction will have a profoundly negative effect on the health and social care system, our relationships, neighbourhoods and our economy. The inverse is also true. Being pro-active now will see a future that benefits all of us as we age.”
With funding for our Age Allies project set to finish in September, Programme Officer Richard Norman reflects on the project and society’s attitudes to age and ageing.
“Armed with a dedicated group of volunteers, our Age Allies stall offered the chance for members of the public to reflect on what they’d witnessed at Age/ncy and to explore their assumptions and understanding of the ageing process.”
Last month we headed to Tate Modern to take part in AGE/NCY: Art, Ageing and Transition, an intergenerational arts display. Find out how we got on!
Our Age Allies programme provides free age-awareness workshops to organisations and businesses across London, thanks to funding from the City Bridge Trust. The half-day workshops have been developed in collaboration with a group of older Londoners known as the Age Allies and are designed to help participants identify their own unconscious attitudes and assumptions about older people.
Last week, the Age Allies went on tour, heading down to London South Bank University (LSBU) to showcase some of the exercises that take place during the workshops. Our Age Ally Chris tells us more:
“The stories of those without family in hospital are rarely heard, rarely actively sought out. In almost all cases complaints about treatment are raised by family members, if you don’t have a family, there is no one to raise complaints. An older person, ill, isolated and worried in hospital with little or no external visitors is not likely to “make a fuss”. As far as we know there has been no research targeted at finding out about the experiences of people ageing without children in hospital.”
We accept without question that if an older person requires treatment, it is undeniably better for them and for the hospital, that they have their family with them. But what about those who are ageing without children? Kirsty Woodard explains all:
In 1969, the psychiatrist Dr. Robert N. Butler coined the term ‘ageism’ to denote the way society denies older people the opportunities to pursue life, to reinvent themselves.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the anti-ageism movement, Age UK London’s Age Allies programme will join Flourishing Lives in the creation of ‘Age/ncy’ – an intergenerational arts installation at TATE Modern that will shatter sedate stereotypes of ageing and older people.
The free event will run from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th April at Tate Modern, in the Tate Exchange area on the Fifth floor of their new Blavatnik building.
“…The second challenge is to call out those people who use criticising older people by blaming them, as ammunition in political arguments or just simply to get attention. I used the word “lazy” earlier on because it is true – it is so easy to categorise a group in society and blame them (and to be fair, young people get a rough deal thought this too), and social media tends to magnify these views in a way that has never been possible before. It is easy and lazy to do, but just perpetuates division rather than promoting the positive.”
It seems to be the eternal default position to automatically blame older people for the world’s ills. Our CEO Paul Goulden shows why it shouldn’t be this way.
“We are all ageing; it is a natural consequence of time. To be anti-ageing is to be anti-living. Reframing ageing and designing for all of us as we age, will provide us with neighbourhoods that are open, accepting and accessible to all, wherever we are on our life path.”
Following on from our recent “Evolution of Ageism” conference, Age Allies Project Coordinator Richard Norman muses on a world without ageism – what it would look like and how we can get there.