A new solution to the age-old problem of ageism
New research calls for positive action for older people.
The Vision for Later Life in Britain report analyses the UK’s attitudes to and experience of ageing, based on a survey of 5,000 adults and exhaustive interviews with older people and experts.
The research finds that over three million people have been the victims of ageism, with 60% of people in the UK feeling that it’s a big problem and over a quarter of over 65 year olds saying they have experienced discrimination and prejudice. Over a third of people believe that ageism has a negative impact on mental health.
Ageism increases the fear of getting older
Ageism, which includes the use of demeaning, dehumanising stereotypes and derogatory language like ‘pensioners’, ‘old fogey’ and ‘codger’ also fuels misconceptions about getting older. For example, 43% of people under 65 say they fear they’ll be regarded as frail and somehow less important in older age, but
51% of over 65s say they actually feel more confident and resilient.
John Tonkiss, CEO of McCarthy Stone, the developer and manager of retirement communities that instigated the report, says, “Our report shows the UK is blighted by ageist attitudes. We have the chance to create a society in which later life is filled with joy, happiness and purpose, and we are calling on government and society to make positive changes to establish Britain as the best place in which to live and grow old.”
So how can we change perceptions of old age?
McCarthy Stone wants the Government to make policy changes to help tackle the country’s ageist culture. It is calling for immediate action on ageism, with strategies to persuade the media to give older people fairer representation, incentivise workplaces to hire more older people and for the Government to publish its long-awaited White Paper on Social Care.
Key policies to tackle ageism include:
- Increasing workplace opportunities, through the introduction of mandatory Age Gap reporting across all UK businesses and a ‘Kickstart’ scheme to incentivise hiring older generations into the workforce
- Increasing representation of older communities in Westminster, with a dedicated Minister for Older People
- Dedicated commitment to preventative health and social care for older people, including having the government publish its long-awaited Social Care White Paper and getting the NHS to deliver a ‘Now, Not Later’ strategy of preventative healthcare
- Using technology to foster intergenerational connectivity and understanding, with a technology and AI fund to develop innovations that bring multiple generations together, and digital education programmes and training to increase access to technology in later life
- Unlocking purpose and value from later life, with local authorities and community volunteering groups creating a volunteer army of one million more older people to support society, building on the three million older people who already regularly volunteer
- Driving fairer representation of older people in the media, with a media manifesto for the press to commit to promote more balanced coverage
- Improving the accessibility standards of new homes specifically for the ageing population.
Read the full Vision for Later Life in Britain report
Looking for a community that celebrates later life?
With beautiful, low maintenance, contemporary, retirement apartments, bungalows and cottages, as well as some inspirational neighbours, in stunning locations around the country, you’ll soon feel at home with McCarthy Stone.
McCarthy Stone is the UK’s leading developer of retirement communities offering retirement properties to rent or for sale. For more information, please visit McCarthy Stone.