Public health report finds that ageism is most common form 
of discrimination

PUBLISHED: 17:35 09 June 2018

Nurse Discussing Medical Notes With Senior Woman At Home. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Highwaystarz-Photography

Nurse Discussing Medical Notes With Senior Woman At Home. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Highwaystarz-Photography


Ageism is the most common form of discrimination and the most unlikely to go unchallenged, a report by a public health charity has found.

Ann Lloyd-SherlockAnn Lloyd-Sherlock

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is calling for 
action to tackle ageist attitudes and undo the media clichés that promote them.

Ageist attitudes across 12 main areas of life were evaluated, finding that almost a third of the public believe that loneliness is a part of growing old and a quarter of 18 to 34 year olds think it is normal for older people to be unhappy and depressed.

Two in five 18 to 24 year olds believe there is no way to escape dementia as you age.

The RSPH is calling for 10 actions, including an end to the use of the term “anti-ageing” in the cosmetics and beauty industries, bringing nurseries, youth clubs, and care homes under the same roof and for Facebook to include age as a protected characteristic in its community standards on 
hate speech.

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, 52, is professor of social policy and international development at the University of East Anglia specialising in the social protection, health and the wellbeing of older people in developing countries.

Prof Lloyd-Sherlock, from Norwich, has campaigned to amend the United Nations (UN) 2030 Sustainable Development Goal to reduce deaths by a third but only premature deaths, which are classed as under the age of 70.

The Norwich professor published a paper in 2015 
calling the target ageist and alongside his octogenarian mother has campaigned against it on social media.

He said of the RSPH report: “I think it’s very interesting that it only has a page about health.

“We are increasingly aware of ageism in employment but I think we all know there is a lot of ageism in health, but I don’t think we are getting to grips with it as an issue.

“There are large numbers of elderly people in Norfolk who live in rural communities and there is an issue about isolation and loneliness and an ability to access health services.”

Dianne Fernee, 66, organiser of the Wymondham Dementia Support Group, said: “There’s no basis for there being all this outreach work available for children and not for the elderly.

“Young people think when you retire you are rich and do whatever you want. But that isn’t what happens.”

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