Ageism is rife in Australia and impacts people in aged care, the provision of health services and employment.
As the third Ageism Awareness Day (October 7) passes, it acts as a reminder that while there are some signs of improvement, much more needs to be done in the form of public education and awareness to combat ageism.
The day was founded in Australia by EveryAGE Counts, a national coalition of individuals and organisations committed to tackling ageism.
"Our most recent national survey revealed some startling statistics about the incidence and impacts of ageism," said campaign spokesperson Robert Tickner.
"Ageism is stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment of people solely on the basis of age.
"Ageism has devastating impacts on physical and mental health, longevity, employment prospects and participation opportunity."
Mr Tickner said the "brutal reality" is that ageism is blocking older people from the workforce and one in six organisations will not consider hiring people aged 65-plus.
The EveryAGE Counts 2022 survey of more than 1000 people aged 50-plus revealed:
- 68 per cent agree ageism against older people is a serious problem in Australia (73 per cent of those aged 60-69);
- 74 per cent believe Australia is not doing enough to raise awareness of ageism and fight against it; and
- 58 per cent want a government awareness campaign.
The survey found that people aged in their 60s were the most likely to have experienced ageism in the past year.
More than a third (36 per cent) said people assumed they could not understand or learn new technology (that rose to half for those aged 90 and over), while a fifth said people had insisted on doing things for them that they were capable of doing on their own.
When it comes to employment, a quarter of those in their 50s and a quarter of those in their 60s said they had been made to feel they were too old for their work, while 28 per cent of respondents aged 50-59 said their job applications had been rejected because of age.
In healthcare, 20 per cent of people aged 90-plus said they had been denied health services or treatment because of their age (8 per cent for those aged 50-59) and 27 per cent of those 90-plus said doctors and healthcare workers talked past them to their companion or carer (11 per cent for those aged 50-59).
"We believe Australia can be a global leader in tackling ageism," Mr Tickner said.
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