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Ageism

(97 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 18-Dec-13 16:09:54

Looking back over some old threads, we came across this from Carol...

"We can all do our bit to lobby for ageism to be eradicated, and muster strength by numbers with Gransnet. We'll have as big a voice as Mumsnet if we continue like this."

Ageism is something that has come up many times on the forums - be it at work or, well, anywhere else at all.

We would love to know about any experiences you have had. If we can build a picture of what it's really like then perhaps - indeed - we can work together to do something about it.

Galen Wed 18-Dec-13 16:46:46

The fact that doctors working for the ministry of justice HAVE to retire at age 70

whenim64 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:48:08

Oh, that's me with my former username! I was rather banging on about ageism and mistreatment of elderly people in care, as was my son who is now a qualified psychiatric nurse and is leaving the NHS to work in a private dementia care home where he wants to support elderly people in a quality way, not rushing past them apologising constantly for being unable to sit with them. The stories about ageist treatment of elderly people in hospital sadden me - in other cultures the elderly are venerated and cherished.

The fear of being mistreated, dismissed and ignored when you are becoming more vulnerable as you age seems to be increasing. I am getting rather fed up with the media, and government leaks spouting suggestions about withdrawal of the winter fuel allowance and bus passes, whilst at the same time we've got a government that is making pension age higher, which rather goes against the grain. Are we valuable citizens who continue to contribute through work, volunteering and child care, or are we a drain on society, blocking up NHS beds and the care system? As people become frail, why does their place in society lessen? I would like to see all elderly people venerated like Mandela was, because the contribution they have made is remembered.

I can't wait for the next election! My vote will go to the party that recognises the power of the over-60s to bring about a shift in ageist attitudes.

JessM Wed 18-Dec-13 16:50:59

But judges go on longer galen
(Reminds me of that Hank Wangford song "Cowboys stay on longer")

FlicketyB Wed 18-Dec-13 17:33:16

JessM The rules on judges retiring are as follows.

An Act of Parliament in 1993 made the ordinary retirement age of judges 70, but the Lord Chancellor can allow individual judges to remain in office until 75. I think this is generally only exercised in relation to Supreme Court Judges and I would imagine if there was any doubts about a judge's mental capacity this wouldn't happen.

I do think continuing doing any responsible job after 70 should be discretionary - and I write as someone who was 70 this year. The majority of people I know are, at 70, as mentally fit and as capable as when they were much younger, but some are definitely on their way downhill by that age or shortly afterwards and I would be very unhappy to depend on them for any form of professional judgement.

JessM Wed 18-Dec-13 17:37:21

Would you be in favour of them going on longer if they were assessed for cognitive decline? I have a cousin in her late 80s, a retired professor, who is still as mentally sharp as ever - still writing etc.
One of the scary things is that people can go on driving until they decide they are past it!

jinglbellrocks Wed 18-Dec-13 17:50:36

I don't think you can do anything about it. It's in people's psychie that grey hair means "written off". And it's not only the young ones who are guilty of it. I was in m and s cafe for a cup of tea with DD the other day. I paid for it and with the change there was a money-off coupon for after Xmas. The checkout lady handed the voucher to me but explained all about it to DD. I am obviously no longer capable of understanding the concept of a money off voucher.

And that lady must have been in her early sixties herself. hmm

jinglbellrocks Wed 18-Dec-13 17:57:24

Gosh, that's an old thread! With some old names! grin

jinglbellrocks Wed 18-Dec-13 17:59:17

Are you having a day of nostalgia Cari?

FlicketyB Wed 18-Dec-13 18:10:09

Probably not. Cognitive decline, if it comes can be very quick and, I understand, particularly in those who have always been mentally very active, the fact that they operate at a high cognitive level can counterbalance the decline for some period so that by the time it shows it is quite advanced.

I am not saying older people should not be active in the community in many ways as long as possible. DF was an active committee member of three local groups when he died aged 92, but I think people who hold senior positions where they make decisions about crucial aspects of other people's lives; doctors, judges, cabinet ministers, Bishops, Head teachers etc should be expected to retire at 70 and have a mandatory retirement age of 75.

I agree about driving. I think after 75 we should have to get a certificate from our Doctor every two years to continue driving. One of my aunt's was driving in her late 80s when she was suffering from recognised (by her GP), but not officially diagnosed, dementia and about 7 years ago my car was hit by a driver who was probably only in his mid 70s but was clearly not safe to drive. I had right of way and was visible for about 200 yards before he hit me and both of us were driving at under 20 miles an hour. His report on the accident showed that he had clearly not seen me, had no idea where I had come from, or the speed I was travelling and was unable to brake in time when he did finally see me.

Nonu Wed 18-Dec-13 18:23:52

Flick quite frightening story !
tchsad

JessM Thu 19-Dec-13 17:58:56

And optician as well I think flcketyb.
I once drove a long way through country lanes behind an older driver who was obviously nervous about driving in the dark. Eventually she took a sharp LH far too wide and crashed into a car coming out of the junction. I had to give a witness statement to the effect that her driving was very erratic.
My DIL's gran is well into her 80s (this is the one who was very pressing when offering my GS port with his Sunday tea. He is 5.) is still driving and certifying herself as Ok to do so.

granjura Sat 21-Dec-13 18:35:32

Getting an elderly relative to accept that they really are not safe to drive anymore is one of the hardest thing to do.

granjura Sat 21-Dec-13 19:58:45

There is totally unfair ageism- part sometimes it makes some sort of sense.

If I was in need of a kidney or heart transplant, and I was in 'competition' for said organ with a young mum of small children in desperate need of her- I'd like her to get it, and not me. Because it makes sense.

FlicketyB Sat 21-Dec-13 21:21:31

Fortunately this is the choice that rarely needs to be made. I have a 70 year old friend awaiting a liver transplant. She has been given priority because, firstly, after a while her otherwise good health will deteriorate and the cancer may spread and the operation may no longer be possible and secondly, unlike many people awaiting a liver transplant, her liver problem is not alcohol related.

rosesarered Sun 22-Dec-13 15:43:47

I know that this is not exactly the right thread, as the subject is ageism, but does anyone feel slightly invisible now they are older?Ageism means being discriminated to on account of their age, and I don't really mean that, but more a general feeling of being of no account?Also, I have noticed that I am being spoken to more kindly by GP, nurses in GP surgery etc which means [I think] that it's the 'oh, an old person' syndrome! Well, I don't mind people being more kindly BUT I am not keen on the way that things are explained to me as if I'm a child of five. And talking of a child of five,JessM if a Great Grandma is offering port to one....... well, that says it all.Hmmmmn, don't think she should be driving!
Are there benefits to being older?I am not really old by the way, early sixties, so wonder how GP's will talk to me at 80?I think there are some benefits; although I make sure I look as presentable as possible [most of the time] I don't have to worry about looks the way I did when younger, or follow fashion too much, I know what suits my [ever expanding] figure. I also speak my mind more, and don't worry about the 'little things' as much. What do others think?

Deedaa Sun 22-Dec-13 23:49:02

The problem with driving is that the older you get the more you need to do it.I am sure that if I was in my 70's or 80's I would far rather drive myself into town than wait for hours at a bus stop, which would probably be a considerable walk from my home. Not much help to the other people on the road of course. tchhmm
I don't seem to be becoming invisible yet. Or perhaps I'm just particularly pushy? I haven't noticed anyone talking down to me, although I am not above putting on a dim old lady act if I want someone to show me how to do something instead of working it out myself!

jinglbellrocks Mon 23-Dec-13 10:12:07

Was thinking about this. One things that strikes me as being ageist is when people think we need our "lives made easier". As though, when we reach a certain age we can no longer look after ourselves. Very ageist thinking. Along the lines of "poor little old ladies".

Gagagran Mon 23-Dec-13 10:23:24

Isn't it down to how you see yourself? My dear old Mum and Dad, who were both in their late eighties at the time, used to tell how they liked to give a lift to church to the "old lady down the road" She was 74!

Another instance, I think I've posted before, was a friend whose 99-year old Mum decided she wanted a new carpet and demanded a 10-year guarantee with it!

I think if you project yourself as old and infirm and needy then you will be treated as such, even if inappropriate. Of course some people are all those things, but they should still be treated with respect.

granjura Mon 23-Dec-13 11:09:10

My dad run out of friends to go cross-country skiing with. When I suggested a few chaps he could go with, he would say that it was no good, they were too old... he was in his 90s and those chaps in their early 70s- but too slow for him.

It is so hard to get the right balance- and sometimes GPs, and us... just can't win. Too kind = condescending, too matter of fact = uncaring. And horses for courses.

harrigran Mon 23-Dec-13 12:26:00

I have just had a Christmas card from a lady who said she celebrated her 80th birthday by going for a 5 mile run in the morning and did a boxing class in the evening, no ageism at that gym, good for her tchsmile

rosesarered Mon 23-Dec-13 15:57:29

Good comments all, but... I don't see myself, or project the image of being old and needy at all, and I wish that GP's had treated me in a kindly way all my life [no they have not!]I never 'think' old, and in many ways do more than my DD only half my age.I think that it's simply modern life, youth is put on a pedestal in a way that just didn't exist before now.Being able to go on a long walk when you are 80 is great, but a 5 mile run followed a boxing class seems a bit mad to me.Everyone seems obsessed with youth, looks and so on, but it doesn't matter how white your teeth are..... you will still die at the appointed time.The man who invented the very silly jogging [un-natural as we are designed to walk or run] actually died while out jogging, and he was fitness crazy.

FlicketyB Mon 23-Dec-13 18:34:24

I confess that, at 70, I have not yet suffered from appearing invisible. Possibly because I have always been fairly assertive. I spent my working life in predominantly male engineering environments, and holding my own in these environments where I was often the only woman in a non-clerical position, became second nature and has become part of my personality.

mollie Tue 24-Dec-13 11:14:07

My only experience of ageism (so far) came when I went to the job centre. The interviewer asked my age (50 at the time) and then declared that I'd never get a job now! That was six years ago and I haven't worked since but that's partly my choice. I did make dozens of applications without luck, not even an interview, so decided to stop trying because the rejections were depressing. I'll never know if I'd have been successful eventually or if that person was correct but her attitude was not what I wanted to hear at that time.

rosesarered Sat 28-Dec-13 20:50:55

Sorry to hear that Mollie it really is ageism at work!Even now at 56 there should be no reason for you not working if you want to and are healthy [as long as you didn't apply for a firemans job or the Marines, hee-hee.]You don't say what the jobs you applied for were, but that is so awful to hear for a woman of only 50, I am appalled.