Ageism ‘Daily Blight’ For Elderly

A leading charity has called on the NI Assembly to press ahead with a bill to make age discrimination illegal. New research for leading charity Age Concern suggests that more than 250,000 older people in Northern Ireland think ageism should be banned.

The charity wants the assembly to put ageism on the same footing as racism and sexism. A spokesman said ageist attitudes were a “blight” affecting health care, insurance and how people are addressed. About 50% of those interviewed felt they suffered discrimination from health professionals and care services.

They said some doctors dismissed their symptoms as “just old age” and 54% felt there was little dignity for older people in hospitals or care homes. The survey, carried out by ICM, interviewed a random sample of 1321 adults aged 60 and over across the UK.

Duane Farrell, head of policy, research and communications at Help the Aged Northern Ireland, said ageist attitudes were “a daily blight” on people’s lives. “We live in a society where racism and sexism are not tolerated, yet age prejudice is tolerated and even accepted,” he said.

“Unfair treatment wears people down. Ageist attitudes and practices are a daily blight on older people’s lives, affecting the type of care they receive, the insurance options available to them and even the way they are spoken to.”

Age Concern is pressing the Northern Ireland Assembly to move on a Single Equality Bill.