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!


Age Allies Project Launches!

“The audience were then posed the question “how old is old?”, which naturally drew a whole range of responses – especially once Richard mentioned a video in which the answer given was “40”! This kickstarted a discussion as to whether labelling someone as “old” makes them act in way that society thinks older people should behave. As a result, the Age Allies project aims to counteract the “old person” stereotype, by highlighting the individuality of this demographic and making clear that older Londoners are not a homogenous group. In doing so, it is hoped that organisations and businesses can alter the experiences of older customers and service users to stop them from feeling invisible, patronised, and frustrated and to instead make them feel valued, included, and appreciated.”

Monday October 23rd saw the launch of Age UK London’s new Age Allies programme at the Cockpit Arts Studios in Russell Square. Find out all the details here!

Age Allies #4 – Getting Pensive About Your Pension

“There is also an interesting psychological element which has implications not only for income levels but for social attitudes towards older people: younger people are more likely to view their future self as a stranger with whom they have no emotional or physical connection.”

This month’s Age Allies blog tries to get to the root of ageism. Is age discrimination so prevalent in society because younger people can’t imagine their older selves? How do we go about changing this? Read on to find out more…

Age Allies #3 – A Senior Moment?

“The use of such negative language about older people is habitual and has become so mainstream, we hardly recognise we’re doing it. But the effects and consequences of our choice of vocabulary run deep. This socially ingrained ageism can become self-fulfilling as it repeats stereotypes of physical and mental decline, social isolation, and economic burden. There are only so many times you need to be told that you are helpless or dependent before you start to believe it.”

In the third of Age UK London’s monthly Age Allies blogs, Richard Norman explores the phrase “senior moment” and questions why such negative stereotypes feature when we discuss ageing.

Film Blog 3

Ageism in Film #10 – What I’ve Learned

“My four and a half years at Age UK London have indeed gone by in the blink of an eye. McCartney claims that life does too. Ethel & Ernest, and many of the other films I’ve seen this year, showed me that he’s right. We’re all ageing. I’ll be 30 in just over a month. Turning 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 feels like a lifetime away. But it’s only the blink of an eye. After all, just yesterday George and I chatted about the fact that we still think of 1998 as being ‘only the other year’!

Working for Age UK London has, genuinely, taught me that all of us have to fight for older people. ”

Over the last year Danny Elliott has been writing a blog series called Ageism in Film. In his final article he reflects on what he’s learned about film and the age sector.


Age Allies – Glastonbury and the Perception of Ageing

“When you think of older people what is the image that springs to mind? Where did this image come from? On what is it based? Do you judge all older people from the perspective of that image?

From what I can see now, Glastonbury has changed almost beyond recognition. But then, how would I know? The notion that any music festival can be experienced remotely on TV is absurd. It would be superficial. Judging by appearance is always unsatisfactory as it can never tell the whole story.”

With the papers suggesting the best place to watch Glastonbury is from your sofa, Richard Norman asks if he’d feel out of place at the festival at his age and looks into the ways that society’s perception of older people is often shaped by appearance.

grace and frankie

Ageism in Film #9 – Grace and Frankie

Grace and Robert are married to each other, as are Frankie and Sol. Robert and Sol are business partners, in a law firm in San Diego, while Grace and Frankie have never particularly gelled. They’re thrown together when Robert and Sol reveal they’re in love, have been having an affair for years, and are leaving their wives for each other.

The 39 episodes so far have looked at a whole range of issues. It’s also relevant as Pride month draws to a close to be looking at a show that is about older LGBT* people, and features a prominent LGBT* actress (Lily Tomlin).

Robert and Sol were scared of ‘going public’ with their relationship for many years. Now, some of that has to do with the fact they’re already married and didn’t want to hurt their wives more than they already had, but far too many older men and women felt forced into repressing their feelings for far too long.

As Pride Month closes, Danny Elliott runs the rule over Grace and Frankie for Age UK London’s monthly series on Ageism in Film.