Friday Flash Poll: Is ageism as bad as racism and sexism?

We want to know if you’ve ever experienced or been guilty of ageism.

older man in the park unemployed ageism

The growing number of older Australians offers untapped potential benefits for the nation, yet they are often viewed as out of touch, old hat, past it and useless.

Not only is this incredibly disrespectful, but it’s a wasted opportunity.

Think of all the life experience wasted, all the skills no longer taught, the knowledge, the memories that are in the heads of older people. What am I saying? You know exactly what I’m saying!

Ageism runs rife throughout the country and it takes many forms. From out-and-out rudeness to subtle, yet just as hurtful and insidious, comments. Negatively stereotyping older people is a condition that psychology Professor Mike Nicholls of Flinders University believes is ingrained in the social psyche.

There are almost 700 million people in the world over the age of 60. By 2050, that number will increase to 2 billion – more than 20 per cent of the world’s population will be 60 or older.

So, it goes without saying that ageism is a problem we need to tackle now.

How then, do we learn to overcome ageism and eradicate the often-unfair stereotyping of older people? Some scientists say that we learn best from our mistakes.

In an effort to find out where and when ageism occurs most, as well as the attitudes of older people towards ageism (many older people are just as guilty of ageism as younger people), we thought we’d run our Friday Flash Poll on the subject.

After all, if a measure of a society is how it treats the most vulnerable, then how we treat our older people is one such standard. Learning how ageism works and how it affects the afflicted is the first step to tackling this issue.

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    COMMENTS

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    Ted Wards
    28th Sep 2018
    9:01am
    You need a better understanding of what ageism is...we experience it our whole lives. My first incident was in my 30's and now in my 50's it gets worse and worse. This attitude that ageism only affects people over 65 is part of the problem, no matter how old you are there will always be people younger than you from the young blond at the bar who will ignore you if theres a young guy also standing there, no matter how long she has kept you waiting, to older people who think younger people know nothing and are ruining this country forgetting that they were the generation who either taught them or their grandchildren. Well done for starting a conversation about this though.....
    Anonymous
    28th Sep 2018
    4:30pm
    I used to be a university lecturer, so have some experience with young people. It does have to be said that young people today compared with those of earlier generations are far more ignorant when it comes to general knowledge. The reason is the decline of book-reading by them, in preference of electronic media (mobile phones) and wasting too much time playing stupid computer games.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:42pm
    Hmm - I might know you, KAL.....
    Crowcrag
    28th Sep 2018
    9:35am
    What is the point of making it illegal, when an employer can justify who they employ in so many vague ways? And when there is a process e.g.application/shortlisting/panel/interviews
    Then it is even simpler to justify employing the person they wanted in the first place.
    sunnyOz
    28th Sep 2018
    12:06pm
    Know what you mean! Put in an application for a position - within half an hour, get a phone call saying 'you are exactly what the company is looking for'. Go to an interview - I am NOT the hunchback of Notre Dame - I dress well, am medium build, well spoken and groomed. But I can see the look on their faces. It says far more than words can.
    Then don't hear anything....so ring for a follow-up and feedback. "Oh well, you're not what the company is looking for'. The last time someone said that to me I said "what? - you mean I am not young and pretty?'
    I was told my one employer (unsuccessful interview) that they felt I might have trouble with the software package. I was not even asked about the package - and I used to TEACH the damn package!
    And I don't fall for this line 'your were the follow up to the successful candidate'. Yeah? - that's what they tell ALL those who didn't get the job!
    Don't bother any more - as I don't even apply for other jobs! Pick up some casual baby sitting, and dog minding, and don't have to go through air head interviews.
    Old Geezer
    28th Sep 2018
    12:42pm
    You should have told them that they are only getting the second best person for the job.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:45pm
    Know what you mean - went to an interview for flogging security - years of direct experience, formal study in terrorism/counter-terrorism, and national security, ex-military and unarmed combat training etc.... competing with a young blade whose credentials were that he was keen as mustard and wanted to make millions out of it (rather than composed and modest and expecting that simple knowledge ane experience etc would win) and hardly got a look.... at age 52....

    Look at the state of the nation and the world today.... oh, well... you can't train fools further than they are able to understand... better to train idiots who can be trained to the limits of their ability.....
    HDRider
    28th Sep 2018
    9:47am
    I've never even thought about such things, I just get on with life. I would like to see ageism defined, I mean, how do young folk think when it comes to us 'oldies' getting special treatment like discounts on many levels?
    That might be ageism hey?
    Quite frankly I feel there are more important things in life in Australia right now, and I hope we don't get an Ageism card that gets played as much as the racist card!
    Pass the Ductape
    28th Sep 2018
    11:09am
    You never think about such things HDR?

    I take it then you accept it's okay for elderly people to stand up in a bus or train while young people take the seats?....because that happens all the time now - and you happily accept their abuse when you politely ask if they'd mind getting up so you can sit down in their place - or you suggest they do it for another elderly person?

    I recall one incident at Sydney airport when waiting for a flight to Brisbane in company with my daughter and wife - and the only seats left in the waiting lounge were three empty seats in a row - with a bag occupying the middle one. I assumed the bag belonged to a young fellow who was sitting two seats away in a fourth seat and asked if the seats were being used - thinking if they weren't, and the bag was his - he'd remove the bag and let the three of us sit down.

    He stared at me for a moment and rudely said - "No - but the bag stays where it is!"
    ....I'm still trying to figure that one out!!
    In my younger days I would have taken up the challenge, but common sense prevailed and I refused to argue. I suppose in that respect I could be accused of furthering the cause of ageism.

    You need to take a little more notice of your surrounds HDRider. I'm certain once you do, you'll see what I mean.

    There are a myriad ways in which older people are discriminated against in this day and age - but then again, you may be of that ilk where you are not aware of the ageism situation because you were one of the rude people responsible for bringing ageism into focus by ignoring the plight of older people yourself!
    MICK
    28th Sep 2018
    9:50am
    There IS a solution Leon. If retirees banded together and en masse refused to shop at any business which refused to hire them then there would never be a problem. Imagine what effect all of us no longer shopping at Woolworths would have on that business. It would go broke and the next day older workers would suddenly be offered jobs. Problem fixed.
    Rae
    28th Sep 2018
    4:05pm
    MICK there are businesses I will no longer support as they only employ very young workers on very low pay. I'm tired of doing the thinking for these retail and hospitality workers who can't listen, don't know what they are selling and don't know the price of anything.

    They have also often failed auditory discrimination as they can't listen or recall instructions.

    Now that is an agist comment but a mix of ages out there would be better in my opinion.

    Some experience is always handy.
    Charlie
    28th Sep 2018
    10:29am
    There is some overwhelming evidence of older people, who want to work, but are being kicked out of the workforce.

    At Centrelink there is some overwhelming evidence of young people, not wanting to work, but are being made to work.

    Forget about the young ones who don't want to work, they will come looking for it when they are ready. Let the oldies undertake the work on a casual basis on top of the pension.

    In relation to this survey I don't think it is a good idea to ask male/female questions without knowing what percentage of the respondents are male/female.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:50pm
    Don't ever see the need for male/female questions in any discussion, Charlie... all this identity politics and politics of division and of exclusion on the basis of social group.... way past the scrap heap...

    Time we started addressing issues on people and not groups... especially when the clear intent is to favour those with accredited victim status...
    Oznorm
    28th Sep 2018
    10:31am
    If only the younger generation would draw knowledge from us we would continue to feel useful well into old age. Instead they keep re inventing things that we have already discovered and used.I spent a lifetime learning and aquiring knowledge. I could sell it if I was still young. Ageism is detrimental to our countries progress and should be illegal.
    On the good side My wife was taken ill on holiday and we were recommended to a doctor who was in his 90s. although he couldn't do much he was able to instruct the nurse and write a script which fixed the problem. Age should not be a barrier and we need to form a knowledge bank so that it will be accessible to all. I find life choices a good source of info. Are all the conributors aged over 30?
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:53pm
    Well - I had the opportunity to train a younger drive in an adage or two today on the freeway ... if you want to play the Sydney Gap and the City Lane Change with me and ride my bumpers like you're on Parramatta road and on ice while traveling at 110 kph- I can show you the two inch lane change gap in front of you.... second one is - what you think you can do - I did fifty years ago...

    Cranky old bastard ....
    Dabbydoos
    28th Sep 2018
    10:50am
    To those who have not experienced ageism, think yourself lucky. I won't go into details as it is too upsetting. But it does exist.
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    10:56am
    Recent events in my life have made me rethink. I consider myself middle aged (although not too many live to be double my age. ) I feel I have certainly suffered at the hands of ageism in employment areas. I do have to acknowledge that I was semi-reluctant to move with the modern times towards the end of my working life. Brought up with different priorities! Now I am trying to cope with my recently widowed elderly mother who refuses to embrace change because my father wouldn't and we all know that he was always right! Whether we agree or not with the modern world, we do have to live in it and this has been a stark reminder to me that young people embrace the world they live in just as we did when we were young. If only we could take the good from the "old days" and embrace the good with the "new days", we could all be useful to this life. This requires all generations to open their minds to change. We can all learn from history but we must also move with the times in our thinking. The "old days" were not that good.
    Pass the Ductape
    28th Sep 2018
    11:22am
    Thoughtful..... The old days were not that good?

    I suppose it depends upon how far back you want to go.
    For my money, and I'm only going back 70 years or so, I'll take those days over the present ones any day.
    What we have in todays world is a sick system full of self indulgent people, the like of which the world has never had to come to grips with before.
    Frankly, when I finally check out, I won't be all that sorry to leave - and to those whom I'll eventually leave behind - the very best of luck - because I believe they're going to need it!
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    11:29am
    And on one level I could agree with you. And so could the generation older than me. But of course most of us would not be alive today to complain if it wasn't for the advances made by the modern generation. This sort of comment promotes ageism - with respect to your views.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:55pm
    Too true, Ductape....
    Richied
    28th Sep 2018
    11:49am
    The question 'should ageism be illegal' ignores the fact that it is already illegal. The Age Discrimination Act makes it against the law to treat anyone unfairly because of their age - this covers areas such as work, accommodation, education and buying goods and services.

    Perhaps what is more useful is providing better or easier ways to make a complaint (currently, you need to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, which might be daunting to most people)
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    11:56am
    Daunting because of the burden of "proof".
    Rosret
    28th Sep 2018
    11:53am
    I am not going to answer your survey because the first thing you asked me was my age!
    Of course there is ageism and it is instilled in anglo-saxon culture. It is not the same in all cultures.
    I would argue that ageism starts much earlier for women than men.
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    12:07pm
    Would you have answered if the under 45 bracket had been broken down to more brackets ?
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    12:09pm
    Or the 75+ been broken down to more brackets?
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:58pm
    Well.... TV presenter women usually have a half-life lower than men... some of the Makeup Mummies you see on TV - men - are older than I am...... yet a woman with wrinkles is a goner.

    I suppose you could call that sexism, but that term works two ways and not one.... I think you said ex public service, Ros (there's also ex-PS) - you should know what I mean.
    jackie
    28th Sep 2018
    12:25pm
    I haven’t experienced ageism and hope to never experience it.
    jackie
    28th Sep 2018
    12:25pm
    I haven’t experienced ageism and hope to never experience it.
    Mad as Hell
    28th Sep 2018
    12:26pm
    The LNP is guilty of ageism when they stole pensioners entitlements through changes to the Pensioner Assets Test. They knew how to get away with this theft by promising 2.5 million
    pensioners they would be better or no worse off and then stealing from 330,000 claiming a budget emergency then left us old folks out to dry. Now in election mode billions are on the table.
    The Black Fox
    28th Sep 2018
    2:09pm
    Having now read you comments (after completing the survey) I would now change my mind and say yes I have suffered ageism - LNP bullying as they continue their quest to make "savings" by hurting the most vulnerable rather than do anything to upset their political mates - take the LNP's fight for tax cuts for the wealthy or their arguments against holding the banking inquiry as examples.
    Oznorm
    28th Sep 2018
    12:30pm
    How Accurate is the Flash Poll. How many over 50s are computer literate compared with the under 30s and able or interested in completing the flash poll
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    12:33pm
    Therein lies the problem of "ageism"
    Old Geezer
    28th Sep 2018
    12:44pm
    I'd like a young whipper snipper to take me on with computer literacy as I would love every minute of it.
    Old Geezer
    28th Sep 2018
    12:44pm
    Guess who gets to fix the families computers when they break down?
    Old Geezer
    28th Sep 2018
    12:47pm
    Those over 75s are doing very well with their computer literacy by the number who have answered this survey.
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    12:57pm
    More power to your elbow OG. We don't have to agree with everyone about opinions ( different opinions are what shapes the world ) but it is helpful if we keep up with modern life.
    Richied
    28th Sep 2018
    2:20pm
    'Computer literacy' has changed a lot in the last 40 years. Although I was possibly the most computer literate person I knew years ago (I built computers using transistors, resistors, capacitors, burnt my own circuit boards: I was proficient in many programming languages from machine code/assembly to 4GLs, I was am continue to be proficient in heaps of software packages), I get left behind when it comes to things like IFTTT and the detail of collaborative tools. At that's the challenge - the skills that made us valuable years ago have been commoditized and newer skills are required, that some of us haven't been able to keep up with.

    Plenty of reasons why that is the case, but the perception that's the case because we can't learn that stuff is wrong - and that perception drives a lot of ageism in the workforce at least.
    Thoughtful
    28th Sep 2018
    3:43pm
    Correct although there is a difference between using technology and understanding it. If you can't understand it though, you could try "googling".
    Rae
    28th Sep 2018
    4:15pm
    Forty years of computers from those first white boxes to the first laptop around 1985.

    Of course you had to write a fair bit of code back then. It's so much easier now.

    This idea that older people can't handle tech is just plain agism. Some older people can't just as some younger people can only use twitter and instagram and basic school level computing and the rest of it is beyond them.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    6:00pm
    Simple - it's called a straw poll or Vox Populi.... not a thorough poll organised with parameters and definitions...

    (I think I've just discovered the existence of alternate universes - if I hit the wrong key my entire post just stops and the typed remainder vanishes.. obviously it must be into an alternative universe).....
    Old Geezer
    28th Sep 2018
    12:40pm
    Only experienced it is good ways with lots of care and understanding.
    Old Geezer
    28th Sep 2018
    1:02pm
    The was a mature male worker in Kmart the other day and he was stacking some shelves. So I said you are just the man that I need to help me find a certain item. I had asked a couple of young girls and they had given me a bum steer. He knew exactly where to find what I wanted and I said they need lots more experienced workers like you as you are very helpful.
    Rae
    28th Sep 2018
    3:57pm
    Don't think you could achieve it as there are certain legal and insurance and industrial relations requirements based on age. From the age of babies requiring vaccination to the age of driving tests.
    Bill
    28th Sep 2018
    4:17pm
    YES!!!!!!!
    Bill
    28th Sep 2018
    4:17pm
    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    28th Sep 2018
    4:25pm
    Firstly, racism is a chimera, because genetically race is a fiction?
    Secondly, sexism is rife: men are widely regarded as the disposable sex, thanks to the lies of feminism. (Read Warren Farrell's amazing book "The Myth of Male Power".
    Ageism is at least as rife. We live in a Youth Cult. Once you hit 40, you're regarded as 'over the hill' and useless.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    6:04pm
    All true, sadly... a very sorry sighting of the human race....

    Just because in primate groups the unattached or 'beta and often young males and especially the old ones, are cast to the outer circle and used as a warning system for predators - their dying screams alert the inner group of fertile females and the top male...

    ....does not mean we should continue to behave as animals.... I call those who do the 'lizard-brains', and there is no sexism or racism attached to that kind of thinking...
    OnlyDaughter
    28th Sep 2018
    5:40pm
    Even if ageism was to be made a prosecutable offence, it will be difficult to prosecute someone. Ageism is easily hidden, particularly in the work force. We live in a time when everything is outdated very quickly and readily disposable, and that includes older people. And it is going to get worse, not better. A relative in the UK was denied major specialist treatment for the return of breast cancer in 2011 because she had reached 65 and this specialist treatment was only made available to younger women. My 90 year old. Dad was sent to Palliative Care by 2 doctors in their early 30s - no consultation with family - no discussion - refusal to consider alternatives - a death sentence because he was dosed up until he died. We are going to see a lot more of this in our hospitals as people age and medical and hospital costs rise.
    TREBOR
    28th Sep 2018
    5:40pm
    Well....... a lot of -isms are vastly over-used these days..... sexism is one of them... racism is another... so I hesitate to leap into the emotional fray of ageism....

    I'd say it was more inexperience on the part of the young blades and bladesses, who have no real idea of what our generation - the Second Greatest Generation - actually did and what we accepted as normal to build the nation etc as it now stands (or stood before the vultures and parasites and leeches started tearing it down with their greed is good)...

    Many of them will come to the same place as they themselves enter the 'aged' group.... and it with deep sorrow that I say that the current handling of this nation and its economy will place far too many of them in the same situation - of not, despite superannuation etc, having enough to safely retire one.. repeats - safely retire on.

    All the guff about equalising every useless bastard on the planet has ensured that for the many, and has ensured that regardless of any advances in 'social' ideas and 'economic' practices - the majority will be always behind the eight ball and struggling to catch up.

    Hang ten of the miscreants ruining the show a week until the rest get the message - we'll re-take the asylum one lynch mob at a time....
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2018
    1:02am
    God! Where is the hate team today, to tell us that it's all our fault because we are lesser beings who can't cunningly exploit the tax and shares system as it now stands........... as it now stands...... (repeat)... as it now stands.....

    Nothing to do with Glorious Leader Managers and People's Forward Progress Under the Banner Of Freedom Through Working Together With You In Your Place And The Boss In His and total Obedience To the Supreme Best Benefit For All Under That Regime... and the absolute inability of managers and bosses to actually do their job and run such a program...

    Just a bunch of old leaners with delusions of past glory and hardship who can't fit into the modern world........

    FFS..... give me some hate here - I can take you any time.... on behalf of my fellow real citizens......
    SKRAPI
    29th Sep 2018
    2:21pm
    You R right Ted WARDS U JUST REMINDED ME i REMEMBER ALSO EXPEIENCING IT WHEN i WAS VERY YOUNG [ 15 } & ALSO WORKED & YES IT CONTINUED ON WITH THE YEARS .
    SKRAPI
    30th Sep 2018
    10:23pm
    yES IT CAN B ANY AGE AS i REMEMBER BUT THE OLDER R OFTEN LESS ABLE 2 DEAL WITH IT . PARTICULARLY IF THEY HAVE DEMENTIA . i WITNESSED IT WITH MY HUSBAND . BUT THANKFULLY I MANAGED 2 STAY WITH HIM MOST OF THE TIME aS THEY NEED SOME-ONE 2 SPEAK UP 4 THEM .