Individuals need to call out ageism if discrimination is to be overcome, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales warns
Ageism is still not taken as seriously as other forms of discrimination, Heléna Herklots CBE tells our Chief Executive Dr Carole Easton OBE.
New interview series highlighting influential individuals challenging societal ageism has launched during Global Intergenerational Week as part of Ageing Better’s Age-friendly Movement.
Individuals need to call out ageist behaviour when they see it happening to themselves or to others if the issue is to be overcome, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has said.
Speaking in a special live interview with the Centre for Ageing Better held during Global Intergenerational Week, Heléna Herklots CBE said that real societal change could happen if ageism was overcome but there remained a mountain to climb at present.
She also warned that ageism was not taken as seriously as other forms of discrimination and that many issues older people face today would remain until ageism was treated more seriously. Heléna was speaking with Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, in the first in a series of discussions the charity will be hosting with influential people doing inspiring work to challenge ageism.
Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, said:
“Ageism blights all our lives at any age and it has no place in a society that should be about valuing each and every one of us, whatever our age.
“We do have the power individually to make a difference. If you see ageism or experience ageism, call it out. At the same time we can look at what we do ourselves. Let's be prepared to call it out but also let’s be prepared to think about how we talk about these issues, how our organisations behave, what’s our language like, what’s our imagery like, what are our recruitment and employment policies like. And if everyone took those steps, I think pretty quickly we would see a real difference.
“Because we have to shift the dial what is acceptable, normal, and right. I am positive we can make that difference but it is a mountain to climb and we have to be prepared for the long haul.”
The discussions are designed to help change how people think, feel and act about ageing with future monthly live interviews planned including next month with Jacynth Basset (CEO/ Founder of the first age-inclusive multi-label premium womenswear online shopping platform The Bias Cut).
The interviews are part of the Centre for Ageing Better’s plans to grow an Age-friendly Movement to challenge ageism and make society more age-friendly.
The Centre for Ageing Better has also joined forces with Independent Age, Age UK, the National Pensioners’ Convention and more than 70 other organisations campaigning for a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing in England.
It is hoped that the role would have a similarly positive impact as the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, which was established 15 years ago, in acting as an independent champion for older people and ensuring policymaking across government considers the long-term needs of our ageing population.
The Centre for Ageing Better will launch a new public-facing campaign this autumn designed to get everyone thinking and acting differently about age and ageing. Anyone interested in taking the first step in challenging ageism can join the Age-friendly Movement by signing up here for news about the charity’s work and how to get involved and support the campaign over the coming months.