(Monday 27 September) is the start of Positive Ageing Week 2021 which is themed Reconnecting Our Communities by Reframing Ageing to challenge negative stereotypes of ageing and older people.
The portrayal of older people as vulnerable, frail, in need of care and protection that characterised public discourse during COVID-19 reflected negative stereotypes we hold about older people.
‘Positive Ageing Week is an opportunity for communities to reframe how we think, feel and act about older people and ageing. Negative perceptions about older people can creep into our policy making. We know public health measures saved hundreds of lives but advice to people over 70 to cocoon, visiting restrictions in nursing homes and the general lack of engagement with older people about policies that directly affected them left many feeling invisible or diminished. Those practices also undermine people’s rights such as right to family life and autonomy.’ said Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action.
Ageism towards older people is one of the most common prejudices in societies around the world, according to the World Health Organisation. With one in five people in Ireland going to be over the age of 65 by 2050 it is necessary that ageist attitudes and policies are challenged and addressed to uphold equality and rights.
Positive Ageing Week is an initiative of Age Action to promote the agency of older people and to celebrate the contribution they make to our families, workplaces, communities and society as a whole. For 19 years individuals, groups, Local Authorities and businesses have been organising events to mark Positive Ageing Week which culminates in the promotion of age equality on 1 October - United Nations International Day of Older Persons.
Over 80 activities are taking place virtually or in person for Positive Ageing Week including the Local Heroes Exhibition in Galway, Older People and the fight against disinformation in DCU, and Advice for over 50s Setting up Your Own Business in Waterford. More information on activities can be found at www.positiveageingweek.com.