Ageism is the name given to the different ways other people put us down and treat us as second class citizens, just as they did and still do, with women through sexism.
I was reminded of how widespread ageism is at a conference on ageing I was at last week . Two groups combined for the conference, those working in the field of ageing (Aged Care Services) and those who study ageing (Gerontologists). Twice on the first day of the conference I was standing in a queue and a woman pushed in front of me. Obviously in each case the women felt that as an older woman I was unimportant and had no rightful place in the queue. They treated me as though I was invisible.
I couldn’t know which of the two groups they were from but it just shows had badly we are regarded when people from either organisation can behave like that. I am trying to persuade us older people to believe in ourselves and realise that we are important members of society and we have a lot to offer but when people working in aged care and/or studying ageing can behave like this towards us it makes me realise what a huge task we have ahead.
Apparently these people are too thick to realise that the chances are that they too will be old one day and how would they like to be treated as nothings in the later stage of their lives?
We have a long battle ahead which is why I want older people all over the world to realise that we all face the same problem (just as women did and in some places still do). If the millions of older people across the world can unite we will have power and can bring about change.
We all suffer from the same behaviour towards us. In those countries (if any) where ageism doesn’t happen I hope we can learn from them how they achieved it.
We should be able to enjoy the later stage of life without these ‘put downs’. It looks as though this will only happen if we fight for it.