Tackling ageism in society


Sir, – Like Prof Des O’Neill, I too didn’t realise that the Citizens’ Assembly had called for submissions for its deliberation on ageing (“Citizens’ Assembly can help us break free of the ageism that defines us”, Health, June 7th).
It is increasingly clear that older people are seen as a problem rather than an opportunity, and this is very obvious throughout the public service where a lifetime’s experience can be dismissed so easily. The fact that some people are forced to retire early while feeling as fit as a fiddle reinforces the attitude to older people. In some cases the rush to get rid of people with experience is breath-taking. How much better our debate around the provision of services generally would be if the experience of the years was put to good use, even to help support and encourage the younger generation.
The words of one Stephen Richards capture why it has become so much easier to ignore the elderly. “When we age we shed many skins: ego, arrogance, dominance, self-opinionated, being unreliable, pessimism, rudeness, selfish, being uncaring . . . Wow, it’s good to be old!” – Yours, etc,
Director of Services,
Alice Leahy Trust,
Bride Road, Dublin 8.