(Judith Graham/ Daily Breeze) — Earlier this year, the World Health Organization announced a global campaign to combat ageism — discrimination against older adults that is pervasive and harmful, but often unrecognized.
“We must change the narrative around age and ageing” and “adopt strategies to counter” ageist attitudes and behaviors, WHO concluded in a major report accompanying the campaign.
Several strategies WHO endorsed — educating people about ageism, fostering intergenerational contacts, and changing policies and laws to promote age equity — are being tried in the United States. But a greater sense of urgency is needed in light of the coronavirus pandemic’s shocking death toll, including more than 500,000 older Americans, experts suggest.
“COVID hit us over the head with a two-by-four, (showing that) you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results” for seniors, Jess Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging, said in an October webinar on ageism in health care sponsored by KHN and the John A. Hartford Foundation. “You have to address the root cause — and the root cause here is ageism.” (…)