Should it be surprising that Age Discrimination is once again cause for concern in our Group? Unfortunately that is the case: despite the EU-Members’ recommendations, the Elderly often face “age” prejudices.
This concern lasts since these prejudices and stereotypes are made official either openly through laws and regulations or implicitly by customs and traditions.
At the General Meetings held in Saccia and Albufeira, the Discrimination against the Elderly was approached from a Health, Social and Political perspective. This year, we are presenting the Economic approach. For sure, you will realize how some aspects of the Socio-political and Health Discrimination often lead to Economic Discrimination.
Economic Discrimination is based on a negative perception of demographic aging. The Elderly are frequently deemed to be unable to carry out difficult tasks or missions. This kind of assessment, this restrictive approach of old age is spreading in our society and the discrimination following from it is therefore considered as justified and rational.
Economic Discrimination is very much in evidence in every level. In fact, population ages and new challenges appear in our society, which entail new socioeconomic questions. Attitudes and traditional policies on essential matters as employment, training and education, the income sharing, the consumer goods and services, town planning, the offer and access to cares and treatments, as well as the access to public, cultural and family life are not always redefined on the basis of demographic change. But why does this happen? In order to tackle Economic Discrimination, leaders ought to think through fully, thus taking a comprehensive understanding and a new attitude toward the Elderly.
A FEW EXAMPLES of daily Economic Discrimination against the Elderly:
On Employment and Continuing Education.
On Education and access to knowledge.
On financial services.
On town planning and community life.
On offer and access to cares and treatments.
On social life.
To wipe out discrimination is a real challenge. Long time is needed to achieve our goal…
Society must be aware of the fact that higher longevity is not a threat but the result of a great step forward in our society. Society does not really bear in mind how elderly people have been contributing.
In the difficult current economic situation we all are being through, we forget the sociological evolution and the intergenerational relationships changes which follow from it. Elderly people face the social and financial problems of younger generations.
Their future contributions by means of intergenerational resources transfer, as well as education and base transfers, are nowadays ignored within the sphere of economics or are identified badly. Their great capability to commit themselves to help society is wasted by leaders. As a result, a Society for every age is just a mirage.
Jean Claude CHRETIEN