Ageism is a world-wide problem and negative attitudes towards older people are pervasive in many cultures and societies, including our own. Older people are all too often stereotyped as ‘has-beens’ with no aspirations or future and even as threats to the opportunities of younger people. The direct effect of this ageism is that older people are at major risk of experiencing discriminatory treatment globally and across a wide range of situations; from undignified and inadequate care in the household, hospitals and residential homes, to unequal treatment in employment and inadequate responses in emergency and humanitarian situations.
The UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) adopted in 1948 explicitly prohibits discrimination on a wide range of grounds; ‘race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status’ (UDHR, Art 2). Arguably the most glaring omission from this list is ‘age’, the result of which is that very little attention is given to the human rights of older people by international human rights mechanisms. Continue reading
In health care, the word ‘frailty’ carries a lot of baggage. In its most positive sense, it is a phrase used by older people’s specialists to describe a particular state of health, usually characterised by multiple or complex physical and mental health and social needs.
This can then be a gateway to proactive care and support joined-up around the individual.
At the less positive end, it is a shorthand for older people in later old age, with multiple long-term conditions that are almost too difficult to manage. In this case the so-called ‘frail elderly’ may be recognised for having high needs but thought of as almost beyond help and given little support.
It is well known that older people do not identify with the word ‘frailty’. This was a strong finding from research we carried out in 2013.
However, we wanted to understand in more detail how older people felt about being referred to as “frail” and whether or not this could impact on their engagement with services. Continue reading
Posted in Health, Health and Wellbeing, NHS, Research
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Britain Thinks, British Geriatrics Society, frailty, Frailty: Language and Perceptions, Health, Health & wellbeing, living with frailty, NHS, NHS England, older people, older people being frail
Our first blog post of the week looks at the findings from Age UK’s latest Chief Economist report. It focuses on the key economic aspects in the lives of many older people in the UK: inequality and poverty, and benefit take-up.
Almost 60 years ago, Peter Townsend studied the lives of older people in East London and wrote:
The object of national assistance is largely to make up income, on test of means, to a subsistence level… A general definition of need is incorporated in its scale rates, and these are applied to individual circumstances, with certain discretionary disregards and allowances. The sums are intended to cover food, fuel and light, clothing, and household sundries, beside rent, and sometimes, after investigation, small additions are made for laundry, domestic help, or special diet. This definition of ‘subsistence’, on such evidence as exists, appears to be completely unrealistic.
You would be forgiven if, after reading Age UK’s latest Chief Economist Report, you concluded that not much has changed over all those years. Because, though the material aspects of the lives of older people in the country, whether in East London or East Belfast, have undeniably improved since then – thanks in a great part to the way initially ploughed by Eleanor Rathbone MP and the Old People’s Welfare Committee, Age UK’s predecessor, the current state of poverty among older people still looks dismal and grim as much as what it was like in Bethnal Green in yesteryear. Continue reading
Posted in Benefits and entitlements, Economy, Government, Income, Money Matters
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Age UK Chief Economist report, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, benefits and entitlements, Chief Economist Report, Jose Iparraguirre Age UK, older people