More than a third of all older people have experienced perceived age discrimination, with better educated but poorer retired men most at risk, new research has found.
The situation worsens with age, as just over 26 per cent of people between 52 and 59 felt victimised compared to 37 per cent of those aged between 70 and 79, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing found.
The poorest older people were most likely to report age discrimination, and men felt they suffered more than women, the researchers found.
However, it is “particularly concerning” that 10 per cent of men and nine per cent of women over the age of 52 felt that they had received poorer service or treatment from doctors or hospitals than younger people because of their age, said Professor Andrew Steptoe, Director, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at UCL.
“This research on a large representative sample of older people in England shows high levels of age discrimination,” he added.
“Older people are an increasingly large proportion of the population, and we need to be more aware of the problem of ageism. Treating people of any age with respect and courtesy is good for society, and will help increase the wellbeing of senior citizens.”
Retired people felt they encountered more prejudice than the older generation who were still in work.
The study also found that around 10 per cent of older people believed that they received poorer service than younger people in shops and restaurants.
Jessica Watson, Research and Public Affairs Officer at ILC-UK, who carried out the research alongside UCL, said: “This research reveals that millions of older people perceive themselves to be on the receiving end of age discrimination.
“We know from other research that the worries are not just perceived. For example, age discrimination in employment remains a significant barrier to working longer.
“We now have legislation in place to prevent discrimination on grounds of age, but this research highlights that we have a long way to go to change negative societal attitudes to age."
Article from Telegraph