Call for councils and communities to tackle ageism

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The Municipal Association of Victoria is supporting a state-wide campaign to reduce ageism in our community.

It is partnering with EveryAGE Counts to shed light on the prejudice expressed towards a person because of their age as well as discriminatory practices against older people when it comes to employment and other social roles.

MAV Board President, Cr David Clark, explained that ageism is a prejudice expressed towards a person because of their age.

He said, for older people, it impacts confidence, quality of life, job prospects, health and control over life decisions, and in its extreme, results in elder abuse. Ageism can also deny society an enormous range of economic and social benefits that can flow from the full participation of older people in community life.

“It is similar to other ‘ism’s’ and impacts people of all ages, particularly older people and young people,” Cr Clark said.

“While most people would know that overlooking a prospective employee purely due to their age is ageist, other forms of ageism are not as obvious.

“Examples that can distort our attitudes to older people include a fixation on ‘anti-aging’ products or the preponderance of birthday cards that portray getting older in a negative light.

“These examples can often go unnoticed and so, it can be difficult to immediately recognise the need for an ageism campaign.”

The inaugural Ageism Awareness Day will be held on 1 October, which will be celebrated under the theme: ‘Ageism. Know it. Name it.’

The day coincides with the launch of the 2021 Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined, and the United Nations General Assembly proclamation of the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030) as an opportunity to bring all parts of the global community together to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.

There are many ways councils and communities can become involved and support the campaign - from signing of a pledge to social media posts; addressing ageism within an organisation and triggering conversations in the community across all age groups.

Councils will also be encouraged to work toward older people being celebrated for their diversity of interests and respectfully acknowledged for their positive contribution to local communities, families, organisations and the economy.

“Although, ageism is prolific across all areas of society and can take place within the workplace, healthcare or aged care as well as within families and local communities, due to the nature of ageism, it can often go unnoticed and is not always recognised for its negative impacts,” Cr Clark said.

“The MAV encourages councils to consider the issue of ageism through meetings, events and communications, and calling for support from elected representatives, senior council officers and staff.

“I and my fellow Board members were proud to sign the ‘Pledge’ and we welcome Mayors and Councillors across the state to do the same.”

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For further information, contact the MAV’s Strategic Communications team on (03) 9667 5590.