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Ten resources to end ageism

Monday, 13th December 2021

A recent report from the Australian Human Rights Commission states that Ageism is the least understand form of discrimination and prejudice – with evidence finding it is more prevalent and accepted than sexism and racism.

As the World Health Organisation’s Decade of Healthy Ageing gets underway, there’s no better time to increase our awareness of ageism in everyday life and ensure our communication is inclusive of all ages.

Here are ten excellent resources for getting informed, inspired and all-age inclusive.

1. Global Campaign to Combat Ageism Toolkit

World Health Organisation

Global campaign to combat ageism toolkit

The first port-of-call for ageism-related resources is the World Health Organisation.

Their Global Report on Ageism covers the nature, determinants, scale and impact of ageism as well as strategies to reduce ageism and recommendations for action. They have distilled all this knowledge into their Campaign to Combat Ageism toolkit which includes key messages, guidelines for starting conversations about ageism and organising events, and a range of media assets to help get the word out - from social media tiles, stickers to instagram filters and videos.

Global Campaign to Combat Ageism Toolkit

2. Let’s End Ageism

Ashton Applewhite TED Talk

Some of the most inspired and inspiring people working for change at the moment are age-activists. Ashton Applewhite is at the forefront of advocating for an end to age-based discrimination.

Her TEDtalk, Let’s End Ageism, is a clarion call to action. Applewhite lifts the lid on ageism and demonstrates through humour and insight how ending ageism benefits us all.

Let's End Ageism TED Talk

3. This Chair Rocks

A manifesto against ageism by Ashton Applewhite

Ashton Applewhite extends upon her TEDtalk in her book, This Chair Rocks: A manifesto against ageism.

She not only shares her journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-ageing radical but brings the research to life – looking at the roots of ageism, how it shows up in the most insidious circumstances and debunking myths and stereotypes. No matter what your age (of course!) this book will change the way you see the rest of your life.

This Chair Rocks: A manifesto against ageism

4. Old School

Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse

Did I mention Ashton Applewhite? And what a powerhouse she is in advocating and educating to end age-based discrimination?

Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse is the ultimate resource hub for ageism. Created by Applewhite and fellow-age-activists Ryan Backer and Kyrié Carpenter, Old School is chock-full of resources to help educate and connect. Blogs, books, articles, speakers, podcasts, campaigns, workshops, handouts, curricula – it’s all here. And it’s free.

Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse

5. Am I ageist? quiz

EveryAge Counts

“All my friends are old! How could I be ageist?”

Ageism isn’t just about discriminating against older people – it can show up in our attitudes and behaviour toward those who are younger as incompetent, ignorant or inexperienced or even to ourselves as we joke about getting older or have a second look at that anti-ageing treatment …

We can’t do anything about bias if we’re not aware of it. So, are you ageist?

EveryAge Counts has developed a short quiz to help you out. If you want to dive deeper into the experiences of ageism in Australia, check out their research reports. EveryAge Counts have collaborated with researchers and other organisations to conduct extensive research into what drives ageism, how it can be reframed, and ageism in culturally diverse communities.

Am I ageist? quiz

6. Quick guide to avoid ageism in communication

World Health Organisation

The words we use, and how we use them, reflect our attitudes and beliefs, our assumptions and our judgements. They can be the source of hurt and belittlement, or be used to include, build and encourage.

As part of their Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, the World Health Organisation has developed a Quick Guide to Avoid Ageism in Communication. Whether it’s using overgeneralisations, euphemisms or ‘othering’, ageism frequently appears in our everyday interactions. This short guide not only raises our awareness of ageism in communication but provides pointers on how to make our language and images more inclusive.

Quick guide to avoid ageism in communication

7. Age-positive language guide

National Ageing Research Institute (NARI)

Building on the WHO Quick Guide, The National Ageing Research Institude (NARI) has developed an age-positive language guide giving a more detailed insights into whether what we say is relying on stereotypes and assumptions and as well as examples of how to communicate in a more age-positive manner.

Age-positive language guide

8. Age-positive icons and images

Centre for Ageing Better

It’s not just words that can perpetuate ageist stereotypes. Images - photos, illustrations or icons – also send powerful messages.

Whether it be an icon of a hunched-over person with the walking stick or a photo of grandma in a wheelchair, images often represent older people as frail and non-active. The Centre for Ageing Better has developed a library of age-positive icons and images – representing older people as they are – active, involved, part of the community. While the library is a great resource, it’s also a starting point for us in creating our own inclusive digital assets.

Age-positive icons and images

9. Yo Is This Ageist?

Ashton Applewhite

Ashton Applewhite is back with yet another inspired resource to help raise awareness of everyday ageism. Yo, Is this ageist? Is a where you’ll find answers to all those questions you’ve wonder “yeah but is this ageism?” (Spoiler: If you’re asking then it probably is) delivered with care and wit. Ask, search, and learn.

Yo Is This Ageist?

10. Inclusivity in Marketing guidelines

Google

While many ageism resources are developed to combat bias against older people, it’s important to remember that age discrimination can equally impact young people and intersect with race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and other diverse identities.

The Google All In Inclusive Marketing Guidelines, developed in collaboration with the National Council on Ageing, gives insight into a broad range of considerations for creating inclusive material for all-ages.

Inclusivity in Marketing guidelines

By recognising ageist assumptions, stereotypes and discrimination, we can begin to challenge ageism and connect in ways that celebrate our shared humanity* across all ages. (Applewhite, 2016)

Let’s get out there and end ageism!

 

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