Ageism is stereotyping or discriminating against individuals based on their age. Institutional programs or policies can perpetuate stereotypes about older adults. Public Health can play a leadership role in eliminating the effects of ageism by working with government agencies and community-based organizations to replace ageist policies and programs with ones that allow older adults to be active members of their communities, live safely, independently and thrive.
Combating ageism has been noted as one of the four action areas of the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021 – 2030) by the World Health Organization.
As people age, increased social isolation can create the conditions that lead to elder neglect or abuse. But with the right social structures in place, people can remain connected to the community and to society as a whole, reducing the likelihood of elder abuse. Public health can join with other sectors to build stronger communities through innovative research, policy-based and citizen-engaged solutions, and investment in one of our greatest community resources—older adults.