This is ‘Say No to Ageism’ Week 2007

Say No to Ageism week poster via Equality Authority Today sees the Irish launch of the European Healthy Ageing Project 2004-2007‘s report on Healthy Ageing – a Challenge for Europe (pdf). The launch will be hosted by the National Council on Ageing and Older People (NCAOP) as part of ‘Say No to Ageism’ Week.

‘Say No to Ageism’ Week, 18-25 June (NCAOP press release here (pdf)), is a joint initiative of the National Council on Ageing and Older People, the Equality Authority and the Health Service Executive (HSE), and its aim is to promote awareness of ageism and an understanding of how ageism lies at the root of many of the barriers which older people encounter when accessing goods and services. More information from the NCAOP and the Equality Authority. As well as the launch of the Healthy Ageing report, this week will also see the launch of a report on an action plan to enhance age friendly service provision in public transport.

One interesting development this year has been a survey conducted by the three agencies on opinions of different age groups towards the issues of ageism. The full survey – short and to the point, and well worth reading – is here and here (Equality Authority). Headline conclusions: as the poster (above left) says, 65% of 50-60 year olds think that Ireland is not an age friendly Society; and 69% of 30-40 year olds think that society treats older people worse than young people.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Say No to Ageism’ Week, Dr Ciarán Donegan, Chairperson of the NCAOP, said:

Ageism is pervasive in Ireland and it poses a major barrier to the development of an age friendly society in Ireland in the years ahead. The elimination of ageism from Irish life will not take place overnight and concerted long-term efforts will be required to create an age friendly society – one in which older people are no longer marginalised by ageist attitudes, regulations and practices that limit their expectations or their capacity to live in dignity and independence.

It is therefore heartening that the new Programme for Government (via the Green Party website) commits the government to the development of a New National Positive Ageing Strategy to include consideration of the appointment of an Ombudsman for Older People, the designation of a Minister of State for Older People who will be a member of the cabinet committee on social inclusion, the development of quality transport systems in rural and urban areas, and the facilitation of older people to remain in their own homes.

Update (20 June 2007): Even as I was writing this – largely positive – post, Daithí was publishing a far bleaker post about a decision of the House of Lords yesterday (here and here) effectively holding that nursing homes to which local authorities had contracted-out were not “public authorities” subject to the Human Rights Act 1998 (incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)). For shame.