What would a world without ageism look like?

What Would a World Without Ageism Look Like?

“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.

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.

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uncovered that more than a million people aged 50+ are seeing their talents overlooked due to discrimination, bias, and outdated employment practices.”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.

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!

Party

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.