Forum: Discrimination against older people is a social hazard

I read with concern that the elderly population is over-represented by those who were unemployed as highlighted in Associate Editor Vikram Khanna's commentary (Ageism is an economic hazard, Feb 26).

According to the report, the greatest contributing factor to the unemployment and underemployment of older workers is ageism.

Nearly 20 years ago, in a report Into The Millennium Of The Older Adult: Releasing Potentials And Erasing Prejudices, compiled by the Gerontological Society in 2001, several recommendations were put forward on how we can change the mindset and perceptions of our seniors.

Much progress has been made in many areas to remove and erase prejudices and barriers towards older persons but ageism still exists today.

Ageism leads to discrimination. It is not just an economic hazard. It is also a social hazard.

It includes every false assumption and belief that we hold that is not true of an older person.

Every member of this society needs to engage in a critical self examination of his personal beliefs and values towards seniors.

Families, companies and public institutions need to be more inclusive.

When we discriminate against an older person today, we are also discriminating against future generations of older persons.

Tristan Gwee

President

Gerontological Society of Singapore

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