Ageism: A Global Challenge in LeadingAge 

July 14, 2019

If the world is a global village, this is perhaps no more evident than in the phenomenon of aging and ageism. In developing and developed countries alike, stereotypes, discrimination, and loss of civil rights for older persons are serious problems. Given increased longevity and lower fertility rates, older persons represent a significant part of every population and call for an energetic response. From the UN and WHO to LeadingAge, a remarkably diverse number of organizations are working at many levels to combat ageism in most corners of the globe.

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UN convention needed to fight ageism in The Hill Times

May 3, 2017

By Gordon DiGiacomo, Kiran Rabheru, Linda Garcia, Louise Plouffe, Margaret Gillis, Martine Lagacé

The rights of older persons should be established in international law at the United Nations. Ageism is considered the third most important “ism” in western societies. It relies on false beliefs, on prejudices, on negative stereotypes essentially based on age which open the door to various forms of exclusion and the discrimination of older persons. Even here in Canada, there is a cost related to age-based prejudice on older workers and on the economy.  There are challenges faced by older people in hospitals, and there is a need for an approach that respects the rights of older persons and their access to good care. And research demonstrates that stereotypes steal the voices of older people in care, particularly those with dementia, through the loss of control over their lives and their privacy.

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Protecting the rights of older persons in Policy Options Politiques

March 1, 2017

By Gordon DiGiacomo, Kiran Rabheru, Linda Garcia, Louise Plouffe, Margaret Gillis, Martine Lagacé

In Europe last year. a number of newspapers and social media outlets laid the blame for the decision of British voters to leave the European Union on older people. One magazine even suggested that the pensioners’ right to vote should be taken away. So outrageous did the scapegoating get that the United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons felt compelled to speak out in the press and tell Europeans to get a grip.

This readiness to target older people as the cause of Brexit represents a face of ageism, an insidious and costly form of discrimination prevalent throughout the globe. When they’re not dealing with ageism, many older people must endure conditions of abject destitution. Indeed, older people are among the poorest people in the poorest countries of the world. According to the International Labour Organization, half of the older people in the world receive no pensions whatsoever. Many others receive pensions that are grossly inadequate.

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