Let’s Talk: Bullying and Ageism


It is a Community Need to Stop Ageism

Many years ago, even before World Health Organization announced Age friendly Communities, Alberta Council on Aging set out to address the impending age wave through the implementation of Senior FriendlyTM program. At the core of the philosophy and training is the teaching on ageism: how ageism negatively affects personal well being and how it impacts on public policy, programs, services and ultimately quality of life.

Our organization is well aligned with the Seniors Ministry and the Office of the Seniors Advocate. We have each identified ageism as a priority area in addressing systemic and cultural trends and barriers to the well being of older persons. Seniors will live much more safely and independently in community when the perspective on aging is predominantly a positive one. First though, it is important to address ageism head on. And we intend to do this through this awareness campaign.

Research shows ageism leads to the harm of older persons. Research depicts how children form ideas about older people and the aging process early on in life. Also noteworthy is, older people themselves often perpetuate myths, biases and stereotypes about aging. The literature states this is one of the reasons why ageism is rampant and unchecked.

We believe in order to influence change, we need to be broad in our collaborations as we address ageism and inclusiveness.

Will you help Stop Ageism?

Today is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. Everyone is encouraged to practice kindness and wear pink to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying. Many times, when we think of bullying, it calls to mind the image of youth being the ones who are bullied and doing the bullying. Is this an ageist thought?

Older adults are also bullied, and sometimes those who have cognitive challenges are erroneously perceived as being the bullies themselves.

According to the latest research it is important to take a community approach to address bullying.

Remember, every day can be Pink Shirt Day when we continue to practice kindness.

References for Bullying and Ageism Post

Principles of Healthy Aging, High Five (www.highfive.org)
Pink Shirt Day (www.pinkshirtday.ca)
Alberta Council on Aging’s Recognizing Abuse Toolkit (www.acaging.ca/programs/#1545256940403-7f07deeb-7ea4