The uncomfortable truth about ageism

You’d never use a racist term or belittle a disabled person, but could you unwittingly be guilty of discriminating against older people? Diana Clement finds out about the attitudes and language that allow ageism to flourish.

It’s the hidden “ism”. Ageism is alive and well in New Zealand society, but it doesn’t conjure up the ire that racism, sexism, ableism and many of the other “isms” provoke.

Ageism refers to the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or oneself based on age, according to the World Health Organisation.

Younger people are generally blind to ageism. But it starts to rear its ugly head after the age of 50 when people can begin to find themselves “othered…

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