Friday, November 18, 2016

Don’t let rift between generations spark a toxic era of ageism

There is a growing narrative familiar to most of us: a globally ageing population is placing unprecedented strain on government resources, social safety nets and the younger generation. With little end in sight to these demographic trends, intergenerational resentment is set to become an even bigger issue than it already is.

Now the UN has weighed in with a plea for peace, dedicating its International Day of Older Persons on 1 October to defusing negative attitudes to older people. It says older citizens are routinely labelled as a drain on society and stereotyped as decrepit and marginalised, with their healthcare questioned and devalued.

But are these perceptions of doom accurate? And do they miss half the story? Will the already bleak economic prospects of the young continue to clash with the needs of the largest older generation in history and intensify negative attitudes?

Unfortunately, the indications are that this growing problem is serious, multifaceted, and worldwide. It will not simply go away. Ill feeling can spark ageism, which can ultimately harm health.

Despite this older population being the richest and most powerful in history, it is not gold-plated early retirees but the poorer and frailer who tend to bear the brunt of ageism.

Read more here

North, Michael. 2016. “Don’t let rift between generations spark a toxic era of ageism”. New Scientist. Posted: October 5, 2016. Available online:

No comments: