‘Societal attitudes’ fueling age discrimination

Representatives from the Five Nations Care Forum
Tuesday 1st October 2019

An organisation representing eight national social care bodies has said that ‘older people’s rights are not respected’, and is calling for a United Nations convention on the rights of older persons.

The Five Nations Care Forum – which is made up of organisations from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England – has made the call on what is the UN International Day of Older Persons.

Globally, between 2017 and 2030, the number of people aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 46%, from 962 million to 1.4 billion.

Highlighting the contributions older people make to society as well as the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world, the Forum is calling for a specific older persons convention to help tackle ageism, discrimination, poverty and disability experienced by older people ‘because their rights are not respected’.

Already in use throughout much of the world to protect younger people, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is regarded as the most complete statement of children’s rights, containing 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to.

No equivalent exists for older people, and supporters say it would give governments an explicit legal framework, guidance and support focussed on ensuring that older people’s rights are realised.

The Forum believe that old age is seen as a challenge rather than an opportunity, and that this is a crucial way to make sure that all people enjoy their human rights in older age, on an equal basis with others.