New research commissioned by the Christian charity Pilgrims’ Friend Society has found that ageism is on the rise across the UK, when compared with five years ago.
The charity, which runs residential care homes and living schemes, found that while five years ago only one in five UK adults feared ageing, this has increased to two in five. Most respondents to the survey were Christian.
The study also found that following the Covid-19 pandemic, more than three-quarters of adults were concerned as to whether existing policies are sufficient in caring for older people. The biggest levels of concern about aging were shown by the 18-34 bracket, with 52 per cent in that group fearing ageing, as opposed to 32 per cent of those aged over 55.
Stephen Hammersley, chief executive, said: “The increase in ageism and lack of confidence in policies around care for older people is concerning, particularly given the recent announcement of the Health and Social Care levy that reinforces the perception that older people are a drain on society.”
Over the next ten years the charity plans to create six new homes, the first example of which is Middlefields House in Chippenham, Wiltshire. The home will officially be opened on the 2nd October, and will include a coffee shop, hair and beauty salon and public spaces to facilitate intergenerational communication.
An article in The Lancet last year also outlined how the pandemic negatively impacted our perceptions of older people on social media, including expressions of intergenerational resentment on social media, such as the hashtag #boomerremover.
It found that in the ten days following the declaration of the pandemic a quarter of tweets downplayed the importance of Covid-19 because it was deadlier among older adults.
Questions have also been raised about the treatment of older individuals in care homes during the pandemic, with accusations from critics that people were left abandoned to die after Covid-19 spread due to people being discharged early from hospital into care homes.
Hammersley added in the statement: “As a Christian charity, we believe in the inherent value and dignity of a person, regardless of their age. That’s why we are investing in a national care home renewal programme, designed to build intergenerational community and discipleship.”