What’s the negative impact of ageism on society?
Many organizations and areas of society, including those providing health and social care, the workplace, the media, and the judicial system, are plagued with ageism.
Nowadays, age-dependent healthcare rationing is prevalent. The age determined who received specific medical procedures or treatments in 85 percent of 149 pieces of research, according to a systematic analysis published in 2020.
In the workplace, people are frequently disadvantaged, and access to specialized training and education decreases as they get older. Younger people’s voices are often ignored or dismissed due to ageism in multiple areas, mainly work, health, housing, and politics.
“Age discrimination against younger and older individuals is widespread, unacknowledged, and unquestioned, with far-reaching impacts on our economy and society,” said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano. She is the assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “We can stop it if we work together. Join the fight against ageism by becoming a member of the movement.”
Ageism has significant and far-reaching effects on people’s health and happiness. It’s linked to poor physical and mental health, more robust social isolation and loneliness, higher financial insecurity, lower quality of life, and early death among seniors.
Ageism is estimated to be responsible for 6.3 million cases of depression worldwide. It worsens bias and prejudice, such as sexism, racism, and disability, and is detrimental to wellness. “The epidemic has exposed the vulnerability of older people, particularly those who are most disadvantaged, who commonly endure overlapping discrimination and limitations. It doesn’t matter whether they are impoverished, have disabilities, are women living alone, or belong to minority groups,” stated Natalia Kanem, United Nations Population Fund Executive Director. “Let’s make this crisis a watershed moment in how we recognise, treat, and respond to older people, so we can work together to build the world of health, well-being, and respect that everyone deserves.”
Our society is losing billions of dollars as a result of ageism. According to a 2020 study, ageism in negative age-related stereotypes and self-perceptions resulted in an additional US$63 billion in annual costs for the US’s eight most expensive health conditions. It equates to one dollar for every seven dollars spent on these conditions for all Americans over 60 for one year. As per estimates in Australia, if 5% of people aged 55 (and more) were working, the national economy would benefit by AUD 48 billion per year.
Currently, there’s a scarcity of data and information on the economic costs of age discrimination, and more study is required to better understand its economic consequences, especially in low and middle-income economies. “Ageism damages everyone, young and old.”
However, it is so widespread and accepted in our views, laws, regulations, and organizations that we refuse to see its harmful effect on our rights and respect.” said Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the United Nations.