What is ageism?

Ageism against older people is stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment based solely upon age. Ageism comes from widespread social acceptance of negative attitudes and beliefs about the value of older people and later life. Ageism is how we think (stereotyping), act (discrimination) and feel (prejudices, biases) about getting older and older people. Read more about what ageism is here.

Information about ageism: 

Ageing & Disability Commission 
The NSW Ageing and Disability Commission is an independent agency of the NSW government, established 1 July 2019. Their role is to better protect older people and adults with disability from abuse, neglect and exploitation in their family, home and community. The purpose of the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission is to:

1. Raise community awareness to reduce and prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people and adults with disability;
2. Receive and respond to reports or allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of an older person or adult with disability;
3. Provide support and information to those at need;
4. Run an investigation (if required);
5. Report and advise the government on related systemic issues.

The Commission does not investigate the conduct of paid service providers for older people or adults with disability. Instead, they focus on the conduct of the person’s family and other informal supports, or members known to them from the community. The former Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit (EAHRU) is part of the ADC, and is now the NSW Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline. The number has remained the same: 1800 628 221 / Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm.

Global Campaign to Combat Ageism
This toolkit was designed for the Global Campaign to Combat Ageism. It will equip you with the necessary resources to learn about ageism, initiate your own conversations about this important topic in your community, organize events to raise awareness, and spread the word through social media to create #AWorld4AllAges. Click here for more information. 

Every Age Counts
EveryAGE Counts is an advocacy campaign aimed at tackling ageism against older Australians. Click here for more information. 

What's Age Got To Do With It?
This Australian Human Rights Commission report identifies stereotypes, attitudes and beliefs about age that prevail in Australia, and captures some of the ways in which people in Australia understand and experience their impacts. Click here for the full report. 

New research finds ageism is the most accepted form of prejudice in Australia
Human Rights Commission has found most Australians (90%) agree ageism exists in Australia, with 83% agreeing ageism is a problem and 65% saying it affects people of all ages. Click here for the full report. 

Torrens University Australia - Challenging Ageism
Offers a free online short course 'Challenging Ageism'. The course takes 1 hour, is completely free and is developed for the general public to tackle the pervasive issue of ageism in society as a whole with an additional lens on the healthcare sector. This course is one of the first of its kind. The course is developed by leading researchers in the field and the benefits of taking the course include:

Foster empathy and compassion towards older individuals.
Gain a deeper understanding of ageism and its impact on individuals and society.
Acquire practical strategies to challenge ageism in healthcare and daily interactions.

Click here to access the course

Initiatives and events:

The Centre for Intergenerational Power
Join us for the virtual launch of The Centre for Intergenerational Power on Wed 10 May 2023 at 4pm. The Centre for Intergenerational Power (CIP) gathers people of all ages to combat ageism and to discover our power to collaborate on action that creates a better world. Please join us to celebrate a decade of CIP's intergenerational projects and the launch of our Gen K workshop resource - Gen K is intergenerational workshops focused on acts of kindness. Click here for more information. 

Celebrate Ageing
Celebrate Ageing is a not for profit combating ageism and building respect for older people. Established in 2013, Celebrate Ageing bridges the evidence - culture gap through engaging art and narrative based approaches. We understand the enormity of the change required and are empowering a national network of leaders to create sustainable change. We have been facilitating intergenerational projects for almost a decade, including projects that build respect for people living with dementia, older women, and Queer communities. More information at: celebrateageing.com 

Generational Kindness (Gen K) is an all ages movement dedicated to combatting ageism and building stronger communities through acts of kindness for people doing it tough in local communities. Gen K'ers know kindness is a verb and understand the focus on acts of kindness can unite us across generations. 

Other useful information and links:

EveryAGECounts Drivers of Ageism report

Ashton Applewhite TED talk ‘Let’s End Ageism’

ABC intergenerational connections links

WHO guide to avoiding ageism in communication

WHO ageism resources

UN Decade of Healthy Ageing

Ageism videos + more:

‘For Her Age’

EveryAGE Counts introduction to ageism

Ageism and doctors

AARP ‘What is Old?’

The Ageing Game

EveryAGE Counts ‘Imagine a World without Ageism’

ABC Old People’s Home for Teenagers clip

BBC ‘The Young Ones’ - clip 1 and clip 2

Laura Carstensen, TED talk


Becca Levy, Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Ageing Determine How Long and Well You Live - ISBN: 9781785043550

Ellen Langer, Counterclockwise: A Proven Way to Think Yourself Younger and Healthier - ISBN: 9780340994764

Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity - ISBN: 9781526622839

Laura Carstensen, A Long Bright Future - ISBN: 9781610390576

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Page last updated: 01 Sep 2023