September 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Last week’s news that the government is advocating removing sell-by dates from food packaging in order to cut waste and save shoppers money (apparently the UK throws away about £12bn of edible food each year) resonated strongly in terms of how we treat older people.
“Past your sell-by date” is now a common term for older people who are no longer considered to be at the top of their game.
Obviously, like food, outer packaging plays a great part in decisions about them/us too. No longer looking young can be detrimental in terms of how older people’s performance and skills are perceived regardless of their inherent abilities.
In effect, the government removed the sell-by date for workers by removing the default retirement age. However, what we all need to tackle now at an individual and societal level are perceptions around declining usefulness and lack of value simply based on ageing packaging.
At the moment far too many older people are being thrown on the scrap heap when what’s inside them is still as good as it ever was.
A quote from BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on the topic of date stamping on food said: “I can understand when people – particularly young people starting out with shopping – look at these dates and say ‘I’m not sure about this; better throw it away’.”
Seems as though that reflects what is often thought by younger managers about older employees