This year, October 1st, International Day of Older Persons, is particularly jarring as we have surpassed 1 million deaths from COVID-19. Older people are most at risk of having serious problems from COVID-19, but the descriptions of the virus as an older person’s disease are exacerbating stereotypes and leading to age discrimination.
Ageism is when assumptions about what happens in older age lead to prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion of older people in many areas of life. Campaign with us to ensure that everyone knows how to recognize stereotyping and discrimination, and help us inspire others to take action to challenge it.
We have seen decision-makers and media stereotype older people as frail and vulnerable. And we have seen many governments put age-based restrictions in place, which means these stereotypes are perpetuated.
As we grow older our lives do not become disposable. Older people are us. They are our family members, our caregivers, our workers, and our neighbors. We need decision-makers to listen to what older people have to say, and ensure they have equal access to prevention measures, support, and services, wherever they live.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has said, “Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination, and isolation.”