Attitudes Must Alter
From Senior London - The Greater London Forum for
Older People's campaign to change attitudes towards older
The realisation by the pushers and manipulators of our lives
and society, has been brought round to the consensus view
that there is a profound problem with our "ageing" society
and we no longer regard its retired members as uneconomic,
i.e., not working and therefore not contributing to economy
and simply to be put on the scrap heap.
However, old habits die hard and underlying ageist
attitudes are still with. Yet a new level of awareness is
coming about. Independent reports; TV programmes like the
recent Tony Robinson's "Me and My Mum" and our campaigning,
is a reflection of that.
The GLF campaign started in January 2006 with the focus
on adult education and life long learning. Our showing of
Amanda Waring's film "What Do You See?" and the Panel debate
with the audience contributes to the campaigning and, with
recent media coverage on social care, is perfect timing.
The Government can fairly claim that it has moved the agenda
in legislating on the "problem" of older people. There has
been a plethora of Government papers and Directives. From
the launch of the NHS Plan "Our health, Our Care, Your Say,"
the "Sure Start Programme", Opportunity Age and now the
Mayor of London Strategy for Older People, there is a
serious and fundamentally different approach to bringing
An example of this new approach can be seen
in the new Directives where the emphasis is on older
people's participation in local and national decision-making
processes relating to services and the community. Local
Authorities must declare to what extent they have undertaken
meaningful engagement with older people and the change in
law regarding the employment of of older people and their
rights. These very positive approaches are very welcome.
The cultural attitude to older people needs to change. Many
older people have ageist attitudes belittling themselves as
well as those of different generations. There needs to be
more intergenerational participation in the community - more
understanding of the younger culture and value and respect
for older people's knowledge and experience. Often attitudes
are not part of a deliberate act to hurt, ignore or
humiliate, but pure thoughtlessness and many examples can be
identified in Amanda Waring's film.
Older people want the same as all other members of society -
to be given the same opportunities, choice, respect and
As attitudes change towards older people, so older people
respond to the change.
Please join the GLF campaign to change attitudes to
older people. Through the Government directives we have the
foundations on which to build these changes and to move
forward to offer equality, respect and a positive future for
our last 50 years of life.