Commissioner calls on Wales to Say No To Ageism

The Older People’s Commissioner wants people and organisations across Wales to join her and say no to ageism as part of a new campaign being launched on 1 October, the International Day of Older Persons.

Through her Say No To Ageism Campaign, the Commissioner wants to challenge the stereotypes associated with getting older and change the way society thinks about older people.

The Commissioner also wants to highlight the essential role that older people play in communities across Wales every day, things that are often overlooked such as caring or volunteering, that make them everyday heroes.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, said: “As a society, we rarely talk about ageism, yet its impact upon older people can be just as devastating as racism, sexism, or homophobia.

“Negative stereotypes of older people are still very common, as is the derogatory and disrespectful language that is often used to describe people once they reach a certain age. Frailty and dependence are not inevitable as people grow older, yet this is the image that sadly prevails.

“That’s why today I have launched my Say No To Ageism Campaign. I want society to think differently about older people and recognise the huge contribution they make to communities across Wales, a contribution that is worth over £1bn to our economy every year.

“Through this campaign, I also want Wales to recognise that many older people truly are everyday heroes, the backbone of our communities who do so much for so many that is often overlooked or ignored."

As part of the campaign, the Commissioner has produced a video that people can share to challenge some of the myths about older people and will also be running training seminars across Wales for public services staff to help them to understand the nature and impact of ageism and how age discrimination can result in public services that do not meet the needs of older people.

The Commissioner is also calling on political parties in Wales to make a commitment in their manifestos for the upcoming National Assembly Elections to tackle ageism and the unfair discrimination of older people by protecting and strengthening their rights.

The Commissioner added: “The right to freedom, equality and dignity does not change with age, but for too many older people their rights diminish as they grow older.

“Older people across Wales regularly share with me their experiences of being treated unfairly because of their age and how this undermines their self-esteem, self-confidence and quality of life. Too often older people in Wales are treated like second class citizens.

“This is simply not acceptable. And that’s why I hope that individuals and organisations across Wales will join me on October 1 to stand up for older people and say no to ageism.”