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Fighting Ageism in the Community

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Ageism Community Sustainable Community

Ageism, or discrimination based on age, affects everyone in a community. When anyone is discriminated against based on age it opens the way for everyone to be discriminated against in this manner. To fight ageism in the community, get to know community members, address ageism specifically and join in anti-ageist events.

Get to Know Community Members

A sustainable community is one which offers a variety of amenities for its residents including decently priced housing, good public transportation, schools and hospitals as well as a diversity of shops. However, this infrastructure means little if the community is not a nice, safe place to live. To ensure that everyone enjoys the community, no matter what their age, the community as a whole must come together and get to know every member. When people feel included, and others help to make their lives easier when needed, their quality of life increases. And when communities come together to realise the special contributions that each member can make, regardless of age, then ageism is less likely to reader its head.

Address Ageism Specifically

Unfortunately even if the majority of members of a community understand the hazards of ageism there may still be instances that arise in the community or when a member has contact with outside entities. When this is the case, encouraging the community to gather as a whole to address the instance of ageism will help the victim understand that (s)he is not alone and send a strong message to everyone that ageism is unacceptable. This may mean that some members quietly have a word with an offender, that members boycott a shop or service that perpetrates ageism or that the community circulate petitions condemning ageism in general and the specific offence in particular. Whatever path is chosen, so long as the community stands together there is a greater chance of success and a lower risk of repetition.

Join In Anti-Ageist Events

Even if a community experiences little ageism, joining in anti-ageist events on a broader scale will help re-establish a community’s commitment to equality of the ages. In the past, “Age Positive Week” and “Say No to Ageism Week” have both been popular events in the United Kingdom. Having community members join fundraisers such as sponsored walks and runs to collect money for anti-ageist organisations, or hosting community events to raise money for a variety of age positive events, are both ways that communities can work to publicise their anti-ageism stance. Communities that want to begin their own events and either hook them to larger events, or have them became larger events, should ask members of all ages to help with the planning and execution.

Ageism, or age-based discrimination, affects everyone in a community. By getting to know each community member, addressing ageism specifically and joining in anti-ageist events communities can help all members feel valued and spread the message that they will not tolerate ageism. Checking in with local authorities and positive ageing organisations will help communities learn more about ageism in the UK and what they can do to help stop it.

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