Last update: 9 September 2020
In the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the surfacing of some deep-seated ageist attitudes, from blaming younger people as virus spreaders, to dismissing the impact on older people because ‘they are dispensable’.
Ageism is not benign or harmless but a form of discrimination based on age. It impacts on our confidence, quality of life, job prospects, health, and control over life decisions. To understand more about ageism watch this clip from the EveryAge Counts on What is Ageism clip.
Ageism can distort our attitudes to older people and ageing and have negative impacts on our personal experience of growing older. The impacts of ageism are relevant as we emerge from our pandemic isolation. We need to support each other so everyone can feel safe and valued to contribute and participate in our communities no matter what our age.
Led by the Benevolent Society and supported by Council On The Ageing (COTA) EveryAGE Counts is calling for ageism during the pandemic to be acknowledged and addressed.
EveryAGE Counts stresses how the susceptibility of older people to the virus and specific advice that they self-isolate sometimes leads to older people being blamed for the community-wide restrictions.
As a coalition campaigning for a world without ageism, where all people are valued, respected or connected regardless of age or functional ability, EveryAGE Counts asserts:
- When we see negative messages about people based on age stereotypes, it’s our opportunity to stand up against ageism and demand a caring and compassionate society upholding human rights of all.
- Now more than ever, the generations need to work together. As we emerge from the pandemic, we need all generations to pull together to ‘build back better’ to ensure that all Australians benefit from the post-COVID recovery.
To read and access resources go to EveryAGE Counts. EveryAGE’s has a pledge to end ageism, go to End Ageism Pledge
Pre-pandemic, EveryAGE Counts hosted American ageism activist Ashton Applewhite for an Australian tour of talks about ageism, which included COTA Victoria. To listen to a subtitled podcast of that talk go to Ashton Applewhite meets COTA Victoria.
To read more about Ashton’s works go to This Chair Rocks.
To access ageism campaign resources go to the Old School toolbox
or watch a subtitled ageism audience snapshot from the COTA Victoria talk, Ageism and me.
COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria have also developed the Challenging Ageism publication as an overview of ageism in Australia. This paper includes examples (language, the media, elder abuse, and workplace discrimination), advice on how to stop it, and further resources.