Local leaders pledge to tackle ageism

Mayors and council leaders across the UK have signed an open letter committing them to tackling ageism and talking more positively about later life.

Marking the UN International Day of Older Persons, the open letter, signed by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, as well as nearly 30 other local leaders, commits the figures to challenging ageism within their own communities and organisations.

The letter has been co-ordinated by the Centre for Ageing Better and the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities.

Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Many of us are living longer. While some of us can look forward with confidence to enjoying later life, others are being held back by outdated and damaging attitudes. Negative stereotypes about older age can have a pernicious effect on our self-perception, limit our ideas of what we can do as we get older and stop us making the most of these extra years.

“We are proud to have partnered with the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities on International Day of Older Persons to call for a change in how we all talk about ageing and people in later life. It is great to see so many influential leaders who are committed to making their communities more age-friendly, now collectively affirming their commitment to talk more positively about later life. We hope everyone will join us to end ageism.”

Burnham said: “As the UK’s first age-friendly city-region, Greater Manchester is committed to becoming one of the best places in the world to grow old. We know this includes having a modern and positive narrative on ageing that emphasises the contribution older people make. Ageism affects us all - now is the time to change the way we think and talk about ageing.”

Rees said: “The city of Bristol is committed to enabling older people to feel safe, enjoying good health and continuing to participate fully in society. Talking positively about later life is a fundamental part of that commitment, and I am delighted to be joining other local leaders in our pledge to challenge ageism.”