Older people in countries with low levels of respect for seniors are at risk for worse mental and physical health as well as higher levels of poverty, the Orb Media study found.

In a nutshell, older people become poorly by being treated poorly.

Researchers also used global data to survey 150,000 people in 101 countries to discover levels of respect for older adults, which varied from country to country. Both the UK and USA featured alongside Japan in the bottom third – a surprising result given the respect that Japanese people are often known for affording to their elder. The data may have revealed a disjoint between how society believes older people are treated and the how those older people actually feel treated.

Canada also featured in the bottom third. One Canadian expert pointed out that the study may not entirely reflect Canada’s position with the elderly.

Our human rights legislation, federally and provincially provide protections against age discrimination. And many countries do not have these protections.
— Christopher McLeod, associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s school of population and public health

Christopher McLeod said the association between negative views on aging and the relationship to health “made a lot of sense.” Health experts agree that loneliness and social exclusion can have a serious effect on the physical and mental health of older people. A 2017 report by the Vancouver Foundation found that people report high levels of social isolation and loneliness, noting a decline in community participation over the last five years.