Age is not the problem, Ageism is..
Ageism is affecting Australian adults of many ages. A report from the Australian Human Rights Commission has found ageism exists across the nation – even if we are not consciously aware of it. The report found ageism affects Australians across the adult lifespan and that the majority of Australians will experience ageism in their lives.
Graphic: Human Rights Commission
So, what’s age got to do with it? Young adults, aged 18-39, say they have experienced ageism as being condescended to or ignored, mostly at work. Middle-aged people say they were usually turned down for a job, and those over 60 experienced ageism as being ‘helped’ without being asked.
The research found that young adults are seen as attractive but bad at managing their finances and middle-aged people are seen as being in the prime of their lives but stressed.
According to clinical geropsychologist Nancy Pachana, who specialises in the psychology of older people and who reviewed the survey’s findings, a feeling of being ‘invisible’ is common among older people.
“This is really terrible because Australia has one of the best longevities in the world … and yet older adults are experiencing almost this sense of dismissal in society,” Dr Pachana told SBS News.
“It’s small acts that render older adults invisible or making assumptions.
“So assuming the older person doesn’t know about technology, assuming that they may not be thinking clearly; it’s these tiny acts that over time can really diminish a person’s sense of themselves as efficacious.
“Approximately one in 10 companies in Australia do not want to hire people over 50.
“Given that people are living longer, and the tremendous work and value that older workers can bring to a company – they bring experience, they bring networks – then this is a great loss.”
Age Discrimination Commissioner Kay Patterson says ageism is arguably the least understood discriminatory prejudice, with evidence suggesting it is more socially accepted than sexism or racism.
She called on all Australians to challenge ageist attitudes. “Age is not the problem. Ageism is,” Dr Patterson said.
The report included a national survey of 2,440 people, 11 focus groups and an examination of existing Australian and international research.
Source: SBS News