The composition of the world population has changed dramatically in recent decades. Between 1950 and 2010 life expectancy worldwide rose from 46 to 68 years, and it is projected to increase to 81 by the end of the century. It should be noted that at present, women outnumber men by an estimated 66 million among those aged 60 years or over. For those aged 80 years or over, there are nearly twice as many women as there are men, and among centenarians, there are between four and five times as many women to men. For the first time in human history, in 2050, there will be more people over 60 than children in the world.
Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older people is a social norm and therefore, acceptable. In 2014, Governments around the world adopted a resolution at the Economic and Social Council that recognised ageism as “the common source of, the justification for and the driving force behind age discrimination.”
Such discrimination shapes how older people are treated and perceived by their societies, including in medical settings and workplaces, creating environments that limit older peoples’ potential and impact their health and well-being. The failure to tackle ageism undermines older peoples’ rights and hinders their contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life.
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