End ageism and age discrimination

Ageism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s age and is still very prevalent within society.

Ageism underpins many of the issues currently faced by older people and results in negative stereotypes, older people being treated unfairly and their rights not being respected and upheld. Ageism can also negatively influence the decisions made by society, meaning that the services, facilities and opportunities that people need to help them to age well can be inadequate and discriminate against older people.

A growing body of research indicates that ageism has a wide range of negative impacts upon older people, affecting their physical and mental health, memory function, recovery from illness, levels of social exclusion and even life expectancy.

Tackling ageism and age discrimination is therefore essential to support older people’s health and well-being and ensure that they have equality, are treated with dignity and respect, and that the contribution they make to society is both recognised and celebrated.  

It is also essential to tackle ageism if we are to make sustainable improvements in other aspects of older people’s lives.

The Commissioner will take action to:

  • Increase the recognition and understanding of the impact of ageism upon older people and society
  • Empower people to challenge ageism and age discrimination
  • Make sure that older people’s voices are listened to and acted upon, and that their legal rights are upheld
  • Improve older people’s access to training and employment
  • Tackle discrimination against older people in the workplace
  • Improve older people’s access to high quality health, care and other public services

Work during 2019-20

Everyday Ageism Campaign

Despite a growing understanding of the negative impact of many forms of discrimination, ageism is still very prevalent within society and often goes unchallenged.

The Commissioner will deliver a campaign to highlight and challenge the ‘everyday’ ageism faced by older people – across the media, advertising, social media and the delivery of services. The campaign will also make clear how damaging ageism can be, both to individuals and to society more widely, and why it is essential to end ageism in all its forms.

Empowering older people to challenge ageism

Many of the older people the Commissioner and her team have met and spoken with throughout Wales have said that they would be unsure about how to challenge ageism if they encountered it.

The Commissioner will develop and publish a new resource that will empower older people to challenge ageism by providing them with a wide range of information about the action they can take when they feel they are being discriminated against or treated unfairly because of their age. 

Research into the portrayal of older people in the media

The media plays an important role in raising awareness of a wide range of issues – including the issues faced by older people – and influencing opinion and public attitudes. However, concerns have been raised about the negative way that older people are sometimes portrayed and the negative narratives that have emerged about an ageing society, particularly in recent years.

The Commissioner will undertake research examining the language and messages that key Welsh and UK publications and news outlets use when reporting on older people and the role this may play in influencing attitudes about older people and/or reinforcing ageist stereotypes and assumptions about them that lead to discrimination.

Review of local authority Information, Advice and Assistance services

Under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, local authorities have a duty to deliver Information, Advice and Assistance services. These services provide information, advice and assistance relating to health and social care and are essential as they are often a gateway to people accessing the care and support they need.

The Commissioner will review Information, Advice and Assistance services, working with local authorities to identify and promote good practice to improve their understanding about what is working well and help them to consider where improvements may be needed, so that older people throughout Wales can access high quality information, assistance and advice when they need it.