Ending Ageism in Pingelly

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Living the Life in Pingelly and Giving Ageism the Boot

What is ageism?

The World Health Organisation says “Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people based on the their age. Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on the health of older adults. For older people, ageism is an everyday challenge”. For example –

Doctor – my left knee hurts”.

“ Well it is 82 you know”.

“ So is my right knee and that is fine, so it is nothing to do with my age”.


When I lost my car keys at college, no one called it a juniors’ moment. Why is it a senior’s moment now I am 65?”

Older people are overlooked for employment, stereotyped in the media and are marginalised and excluded in their communities. Ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices.

“Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially “normalized” of any prejudice and is not widely countered – like racism or sexism. These attitudes lead to the marginalisation of older people within our communities and have negative impacts on their health and well-being.”[1]

According to the World Health Organisation, a person’s life expectancy is increased by 7.5 years when they think positively about aging. Ageism has been shown to cause cardiovascular stress, lowered levels of self-efficacy and decreased productivity; having an economic impact on the community and the country. Research also found that negative attitudes about providing long-term care for older people also make it difficult to recruit paid care workers in many countries[2].

The economic impact of ageism is therefore clear. Potential economic benefits that could be provided are being lost and are instead costing money in the form of reduced health outcomes and productivity.

“The growth in the number of older Australians provides significant benefits and opportunities for Australia… to achieve these benefits we need to remove the barriers that prevent many older Australians from reaching their full potential in workplaces and the community” (Former Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon. Susan Ryan AO in AHRC, 2013)”[3]

The evidence shows the negative impacts of ageism not only limit the potential opportunity for older Australians to participate fully in the community, but also significantly impacts their overall health and wellbeing.

Ageist attitudes are seen across ages and are not limited to younger people, but “may be “internalised and reinforced across the lifespan developing into beliefs about, expectations for, and self-perception’s of, one’s own ageing process” (Sargent-Cox, 2017).”[4] They can be a self-fulfilling prophecy with people expecting to be incapable and therefore becoming so.

“Research with older people found that participants: “reflected an internalisation and acceptance of ageist stereotypes and prejudices through their perceptions of what ‘being old’ was… including: not trying, withdrawn, isolated, irritating, self-oriented, living outside the mainstream, unattractive, uninteresting, frail, senile, silly, over the hill, narrow-minded, a burden, lonely, vulnerable, dowdy, and unproductive” (Minichiello et al., 2000 p. 259)”[5]

Changing the perception of ageing and addressing ageism will have a positive impact economically, socially and on the health and wellbeing of a significant portion of our population, including our future selves.

The World Health Organisation says –

“Tackling ageism will require a new understanding of ageing by all generations. This understanding needs to counter outdated concepts of older people as burdens and acknowledge the wide diversity of the experience of older age, the inequities of ageism, and demonstrate a willingness to ask how society might organise itself better. Actions that may help tackle ageism include:

  • Undertaking communication campaigns to increase knowledge about and understanding of ageing among the media, general public, policy makers, employers and service providers; Legislating against age-based discrimination;
  • Ensuring that a balanced view of ageing is presented in the media”[6]

The Pingelly Somerset Alliance (PSA) proposes to undertake community campaigns and work to change the attitude of people within the Pingelly community, as a step toward reducing ageism. EveryAGE Counts is a campaign to tackle ageism faced by older Australians.

[1] https://www.beaconhillvillage.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=332658&module_id=346280
[2] https://www.communitynews.com.au/midland-reporter/news/seniors-village-hub-movement-heads-for-the-hills/
[3] www.wavertonhub.com.au
[4] https://www.who.int/ageing/ageism/en/
[5] Levy BR et al. Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2002 83(2):261-270, quoted on https://www.who.int/ageing/ageism/en/
[6] The drivers of ageism – Foundational research to inform a national advocacy campaign tackling ageism and its impacts in Australia, The Benevolent Society, 2017, page 13
[7] The drivers of ageism – Foundational research to inform a national advocacy campaign tackling ageism and its impacts in Australia, The Benevolent Society, 2017, page 16
[8] The drivers of ageism – Foundational research to inform a national advocacy campaign tackling ageism and its impacts in Australia, The Benevolent Society, 2017, page 16
[9] https://www.who.int/ageing/features/faq-ageism/en/

Because we all age, ageism is discrimination against our future selves

The PSA will work with the EveryAGE Counts campaign to help tackle ageism in Pingelly through the communications and engagement with people of all ages.

Why end it?

Ageism denies society a huge range of benefits that can follow economically and socially from the full participation of older people.

As many are aware, the Pingelly Somerset Alliance is working on a national demonstration project known as ‘Staying in Place’  (also referred to as The Pingelly Project) to ensure that people will no longer need to leave the district as they get older or worry about being lonely, becoming frail and dependent on care and support (even to a nursing home level of service), having a disability, or becoming isolated if they choose to stay living at home in Pingelly or surrounding districts until end of life. The benefits of this project to local residents and our local economy are huge. To prepare for the start of ‘Stating in Place’, we need to show that ageism can be eliminated from Pingelly.

What will the campaign look like?

Mostly lots of simple fun for all over the next 8 months; a couple of social events; some information sharing; great promotional material with a local flavour; some public art/photography; a “Living the Life in Pingelly and Giving Ageism the Boot“ family and organisational challenge including taking the pledge to call out ageism when you notice it; arm bands, wristbands and all sorts of stuff. It also involves the University of Western Australia undertaking an evaluation of the campaign – what did we do, how we did it and will our community think more positively about ageing after the campaign.

Who is paying for the campaign?

The State Government gave the PSA a small amount of funds to run and evaluate the campaign over 12 months. The Bendigo Bank has also made a small contribution. However, it will be a very small budget campaign with lots of in-kind support and resources.

Who can get involved?

One way or the other, we hope everyone will get involved at some point over the next 8 months. We have quite a lot of preparation work at this stage – getting a website up, Facebook page, partnerships organised, getting our resources and materials together, meetings galore! We have some people on a campaign reference group to provide advice, support and a range of practical assistance, promote the campaign to the community, make connections, open doors and build positive momentum.

Am I ageist? go to the EveryAGE Counts website www.everyagecounts.org.au and do the quiz to find out “Am I Agist?”.