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‘Life Doesn’t Stop When You Go Grey!’ – Facing Stigma

Posted April 16th 2019 by Outside The Box

life doesn't stop when you go grey

In autumn 2018, the Scottish Government started working on a framework to support policies across their responsibilities that affect older people. They asked voluntary organisations that represented older people or were in touch with older people across the country to bring together the experiences and views of older people as part of developing the framework.

That framework has now been published:
A Fairer Scotland for Older People: framework for action.

We spoke to older people right across Scotland, including people in rural areas, people who have higher needs, people in care homes and relatives and friends and want to share what we heard.

We will also be posting each section in a series of blogs. And we would love to hear your thoughts. Please post comments below. You can also download our full report here or read it online here. First up…

Facing stigma

Older people told us that they want to be part of a society that respects and includes people, including them. Many people felt that there is more stigma and discrimination around ageing and against older people now.

There was a lot of concern about the distortion in the media about older people needing care – suggesting that everyone would need expensive care in care homes and it would cost a fortune, even though all the evidence is that it is a small proportion of people who need this support, and then usually only for a relatively short time. In their experience, this message caused worry for lots of people and their families. It also added to, or legitimised, resentment from younger people towards older people.

“Life doesn’t stop when you go grey!”

“Why has ageing become something to be afraid of?”

“The press are the main cause of the old ‘us’ and ‘them’ argument – they pit people against each other all the time. It happens all the time ‘young’ vs ‘old’ etc.”

“Get the facts. Most people manage well with community supports and good preventative policies and action means that there will be enough money to support those people who do need extra care.”

“They wouldn’t get away with the things they say about us if it was people from another equalities group.”

What do you think about stigma and older people? Is it something you’ve encountered? What can be done to challenge it?

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