Reframing ageing: Public perceptions of ageing, older age and demographic change
This report builds on our previous research to better understand public attitudes towards ageing and older age.
Ageism is important because it can cause a huge range of harms in a wide range of contexts. Ageing is often associated with decline and ill-health, and older people are commonly portrayed as frail, vulnerable and dependent.
However, this report shows that public attitudes towards ageing and older age are complex and nuanced – with the researching highlights that people in their 50s and 60s are most likely to feel negative about ageing. The language we use matters because it can influence public opinion, which can in turn influence policy choices and decisions. Attempting to change these narratives is often known as ‘reframing’: making conscious and intentional choices about what to include – and what not to include – in communications in order to influence how people think, feel, and act on certain issues.
This paper is based on research conducted by Savanta ComRes and Equally Ours. This mixed methods research project comprised focus groups and a nationally representative survey. It is part of a wider programme of work at Ageing Better, in collaboration with Age-Friendly Manchester, to examine how ageing and demographic change are talked about in society, with the aim of shifting to a more positive and realistic narrative.