“Ageism is rife in Britain, with millennials holding the most negative attitudes to ageing, according to a study.
A quarter of millennials believe it is normal for older people to be unhappy and depressed, while 40% believe there is no way to escape dementia as you get older, research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) shows.
Across all age groups, almost a third of people surveyed agreed with the statement “being lonely is just something that happens when people get old”, while two thirds had no friends with an age gap of 30 years or more.
“Ageist attitudes abound in society and have a major impact on the public’s health, and yet they are rarely treated with the seriousness they deserve,” the RSPH chief executive, Shirley Cramer, said.
“Too often ageist behaviour and language is trivialised, overlooked, or even served up as the punchline to a joke – something we would rightly not tolerate with other forms of prejudice.” …
The RSPH also called for the Independent Press Standards Organisation to include age in the editors’ code of practice to prevent discrimination.
“[T]he common media portrayal of older people blocking beds could be framed instead as ‘older people trapped in hospital because they can’t afford the care they need when they go home’, states the report, About That Age Old Question, which surveyed 2,000 adults in the UK.
“[W]e need realistic portrayals of ageing that overall reflect both the challenges and opportunities in later life.”
The report recommends housing nurseries and care homes under the same roof.
“Intergenerational contact and care offer huge benefits for the groups involved, but also to the facilities operators,” it says, adding that it was an opportunity for local authorities and private providers to save costs “as well as offering genuine wellbeing benefits to ‘young’ and ‘old’ customers alike”.”