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'Doddery But Dear?': Expose Ageism in the United Kingdom

The Center for Ageing Better in the UK has published a research report titled 'Doddery But Dear?', which reviewed all existing research on attitudes to ageing. This report exposes age discrimination in the UK with concrete figures, reaffirming the fact that older people are widely mocked, patronised and demonised by the rest of society.

Specifically, older people are the target of a series of prejudices that are considered to be useless or irritable. The report also shows that the negative attitude towards older people appears everywhere: at work, at work, in healthcare, social care, and in the media. Women and people from black and minority ethnic groups facing a “double jeopardy” of discrimination, the paper by the Centre for Ageing Better revealed.

Older workers are often seen as being in poor performance, less ability to learn and being more costly than younger workers. This prejudice is even more serious in health care and social care, as community attitudes focus primarily on the risk of death and reduced mobility, and aging is thought to be an increasing process. gradually the disease status.

According to this report, the media has played a key role in conveying negative information and attitudes in the community. By using comparative images such as 'silver tide', 'demographic zone' or 'timer demographic bomb', population aging is described as a disaster or social burden. Older people are considered as 'villains' who have consumed social resources in an unfair way.

The Center for ageing better calls for a cultural revolution to change the so-called "pity and hate" toward the older people. Anna Dixon, executive director of the Center, said: “Ageism, like any other form of prejudice, has a profound effect on our self-esteem, our wellbeing and the way we experience day-to-day life. The responses to the Covid-19 crisis have thrown up serious questions about the way we think and talk about older people, and highlighted what an impact those attitudes can have.

“Our new research shows that in spite of the progress we’ve made towards challenging discrimination in Britain, we still have an ingrained culture of pity, dislike and disassociation towards older people.”

The number of people aged 65 and over will increase by more than 40% within 20 years, and the number of households where the oldest person is 85 and over is increasing faster than any other age group. Despite these profound changes to the age structure of our society, ageism is still rife: one in three people in the UK report experiencing age prejudice or age discrimination.

Download summary reportDownload full research report


Sources: A Centre for Ageing Better, According to: The Guardian