Caxton Legal Centre has become a member of the EveryAGE Counts national coalition to end ageism. This diverse and growing coalition of organisations and individuals is committed to achieving this important shift in the way we understand and experience growing older.
By joining the coalition, Caxton Legal Centre commits to the EveryAGE Counts Pledge:
“We stand for a world without ageism where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged. We commit to speak out and take action to ensure older people can participate on equal terms with others in all aspects of life.”
What is ageism?
Ageism is prejudice expressed toward a person because of their age. It includes stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment. While ageism can affect anyone of any age, the EveryAGE Counts campaign is focusing on addressing ageism relating to older people. In this context, ageism comes from negative attitudes and beliefs about what it means to be an older person.
As a form of discrimination, ageism has three key aspects:
- Prejudicial attitudes towards older people, including some attitudes held by older people themselves
- Discriminatory practices against older people, for instance in employment, insurance or health care
- Institutional practices, policies and behaviours that perpetuate negative stereotypes and undermine dignity – including language and representation in the media and cultural settings.
These ageist elements are also at the centre of elder abuse and changing them is a key part of ending elder abuse for good.
Individuals who perpetrate elder abuse fail to respect the autonomy and dignity of older people. Similarly, institutions with paternalistic approaches that decentralize older people’s needs and wishes practice systemic ageism.
Rights to autonomy and independence should not be diminished by the ageing process, but deficit ageist thinking can make such approaches feel normal. A solution to this is right-based thinking which puts the human rights of the individual at the centre of decision-making.
The goal of EveryAGE Counts is to set strong, new foundations for current and future generations to age well. Toward this goal, the campaign seeks to:
- shift those deeply entrenched negative social norms about ageing and older people
- reimagine what it means to grow older and be an older person; and reframe our older years as a valid, positive and meaningful part of life
- drive a political and societal response to the opportunities presented by our ageing population.
Where can I find out more?
Visit www.everyagecounts.org.au. For information and advice on elder abuse contact Caxton Legal Centre on (07) 3214 6333.
Diagrams were adapted from a document published at the International Conference of Human Rights of Older Persons & Non-discrimination (3 October 2017) by the Centre of Old Age and Aging Studies, Pontoficia Universidad Católica de Chile.