CFA joins the EveryAGE Counts national coalition to end ageism

Consumers’ Federation of Australia is excited to have become a member of the EveryAGE Counts national coalition to end ageism. We are now a proud member of this diverse and growing coalition of organisations and individuals committed to achieving this important shift in the way we understand and experience growing older.

By joining the coalition, we commit to the EveryAGE Counts Pledge:

“We stand for a world without ageism where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged. We commit to speak out and take action to ensure older people can participate on equal terms with others in all aspects of life.” 

What is EveryAGE Counts?

EveryAGE Counts is an advocacy campaign aimed at tackling ageism.  It’s an ambitious campaign spearheading a social movement with a challenging goal: to shift social norms (those unwritten rules of how we think and behave) and positively influence the way Australia thinks about ageing and older people.

What is ageism?

Ageism is prejudice expressed toward a person because of their age. It includes stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment. While ageism can affect anyone of any age, the EveryAGE Counts campaign is focusing on addressing ageism relating to older people. In this context, ageism comes from negative attitudes and beliefs about what it means to be an older person.

As a form of discrimination, ageism has three key aspects:

  • Prejudicial attitudes towards older people, including some attitudes held by older people themselves
  • Discriminatory practices against older people, for instance in employment, insurance or health care
  • Institutional practices, policies and behaviours that perpetuate negative stereotypes and undermine dignity — including language and representation in the media and cultural settings.

Why do we need a campaign to tackle ageism?

Ageism is not benign or harmless. It is a big problem because it impacts on our confidence, quality of life, job prospects, health, and control over life decisions.

It is pervasive but often hidden. It can distort our attitudes to older people and ageing and have profound negative impacts on our personal experience of growing older. The impacts of ageism can prevent or limit us from contributing and participating in our communities — socially, economically and as full citizens — and even impact our physical health and longevity.

As well as its individual impacts, ageism can also deny society the enormous range of benefits that can flow, economically and socially, from the full participation of older people.

What is the campaign’s long term vision?

The EveryAGE Counts campaign vision is “a society where every person is valued, connected and respected regardless of age and health”. 

What does the campaign want to achieve?

The overall goal of EveryAGE Counts is to set strong, new foundations for current and future generations to age well. Toward this goal, the campaign seeks to:

  • shift those deeply entrenched negative social norms about ageing and older people 
  • reimagine what it means to grow older and be an older person; and reframe our older years as a valid, positive and meaningful part of life
  • drive a political and societal response to the opportunities presented by our ageing population.

How will the EveryAGE Counts campaign achieve its goal?

The campaign has to work at a number of levels over time to achieve its goal. EveryAGE Counts is built on a variety of social change activities, including:

  • Advocacy, political engagement and public campaigning for policy changes and new policy initiatives
  • Addressing specific structural barriers to participation for older people, for example, in particular settings where ageist policies or entrenched practices prevent access or equal participation (eg in workplaces, aged care and healthcare settings)
  • Increasing the diversity and accuracy of representations of older people in media, arts and public discussion
  • Building a grassroots social movement so all Australians can be involved in the change they want to see
  • Further research and policy development to ensure an evidence based approach.

Where can I find out more?

At www.everyagecounts.org.au there are a number of terrific, engaging resources that are sure to get a conversation started!

  • Take the Pledge and sign up to the campaign
  • Watch the video, ‘Imagine a world without ageism’
  • Ask yourself  ‘Am I ageist?’ and take the quiz
  • Browse ‘The Real Old’ and discover the myths, facts and surprisingly good news about growing older in Australia today (if we can just end ageism)
  • Read the EveryAGE Counts policies and submissions.

Who is funding the Campaign?

Funding for the establishment of the campaign has come largely from The Benevolent Society as part of meeting the organisation’s social justice goals and strategic plan.

The Benevolent Society was also successful in winning a substantial grant of $1.5 million over five years from the JO and JR Wicking Trust.   The J.O. & J.R. Wicking Trust (The Wicking Trust) is one of Australia’s most significant trusts. It  supports organisations that are well placed to affect systemic change in the wellness and quality of life of older people.

CFA representative Polly Plowman is a member of MB-027 Aging societies which mirrors ISO TC 314 Aging societies — see more  here.