Diversity Card(10)

COFACE Families Europe contribution to the Ageing Equal Campaign

Ageism is the systematic discrimination of persons on the ground of their age. As other discriminations, it takes various forms ranging from stereotypes to mistreatment and abuse. Ageism is often ‘structural’, i.e. sustained by our society and its institutions in laws, policies, practices or culture.

Between 1st October 2018, the International Day of Older Persons and 10th December 2018, the International Human Rights Day, AGE Platform Europe launched Ageing Equal, a 70-day campaign against ageism to increase awareness and understanding of the prevalence and negative impact of ageism and of the importance to stand up for your rights no matter what age you are.

Each of the 10 weeks of the campaign was covering a specific theme to illustrate the widespread effect of ageism and how it affects different groups in society. COFACE Families Europe supported this campaign with a contribution during the weekly theme of Ageims and Disability.

When persons with disabilities get older, or when older persons face disabilities, they are more likely to receive low standards of care and support, to be excluded from benefits and other support schemes, and to end up in residential institutions due to lack of alternatives. Research shows that older persons are less likely to benefit from social protection in accessing long-term care compared to younger persons with similar needs. Ageist attitudes also lead to lower quality or less options of services, different levels of support and abusive practices, such as delayed, refused, inadequate or undignified treatment. Besides, caregivers of older people sometimes have access to less support or rights. From a family perspective, age and disability are blurred since family carers support their family members requiring care or support based on their needs as an individual. The highest share of care is provided by women aged 50 or older, often experiencing themselves ageism and lack of social inclusion. When a family member needs long-term care, this brings significant changes in the family life; and when state support is lacking, the financial stability and well-being of all family members can be easily eroded.

The COFACE Families Europe article ‘Age, disability and the need for a family dimension in long-term care’ calls for a more holistic approach to long-term care, reducing the fragmentation between the health and social sector, to ensure that all persons with care or support needs can access services in the community.