January 26, 2010 1 Comment
I’m going to start a new campaign. News that Plymouth City Council has opened a ‘ONE-STOP-SHOP’ which they hope will become a social hub for Plymouth’s over-50s once again caused a red mist to descend upon me, swiftly followed by a big dollop of absolute rage. So prepare yourselves for a bit of a rant…
Why does this artificial, meaningless and inappropriate division of society into the under 50s and the over 50s still persist? What is different today about being over 50 to being over 40 or over 30? If the implication is that over 50 means “elderly” how long is it going to take before rational, intelligent people (i.e. those at the Council) catch up with the fact that these days, even “over 60” is unacceptable if you want to suggest that people are ageing.
The council proclaims that its new facility will act as a drop-in centre providing information on everything from health and housing to education and jobs. Okay. So why is this needed for the over 50s? If people in their 30s and 40s can sort things out by themselves, why do we need to be patronised and insulted by the assumption that we can’t?
Ageism and age discrimination is deeply ingrained in our society and prevents opportunities and progress at the level at which things really matter such as jobs. These worthy initiatives for the “over 50s” are hugely damaging through their reinforcement of the erroneous notion that ageing means mental and physical decline, lack of independence, and an inability to cope. If we are to have such schemes (which may have a role for the elderly) then for goodness sakes let’s keep abreast of change and imply that they’re for the over 70s at the very least.