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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unwinding Ageism

Advancing Well-being of Older Adults

         Several days ago, as I googled across the Internet I came across a very interesting article entitled Ageism Concepts and Theories.[i] I find it very informative and it has helped me deepen my understanding of Ageism issues. 
         Near the end of the paper there is some material that can help us better understand the international struggle against ageism.  I am going to display some of this material in this blog entry. To begin:
         “The Expert Working Group of the United Nations has agreed on twenty-six specific recommendations to national governments to advance the wellbeing of older adults, several of which should interest law reform bodies in different countries. Among other things, governments are encouraged:
·      to close the gap between law and the implementation of law;
·      to promote positive discrimination (affirmative action) of older persons as a legitimate step in national laws;
·      to put the burden of proof of age discrimination on the violator not victim of age discrimination;
·      to  provide easily accessible and free identity documentation to older men and women to access their economic, social, political, and civil entitlements;
·      to provide free paralegal support and free legal aid to older persons to defend their rights and help resolve disputes within the community structures and to gain them access to formal judicial systems;
·      to incorporate a gender perspective in all policy actions on aging and eliminate discrimination on the basis of age and gender;
·      to provide affordable and appropriate health care support and social protection for older persons including preventive and rehabilitation;
·      to promote a set of measures aimed at the empowerment of older persons in various areas;
·      to initiate a set of measures geared at preventing discrimination against older persons in all fields and areas, changing negative stereotypes in media and other fields;
·      to promote evidence-based studies related to the empowerment of older persons, provision of health care and long-term care on a systematic basis;
·      to give visibility to older persons’ rights among leading policy makers and educate them about the rights of older persons and the aging process;
·      to request scholars to include older persons’ concerns in their research;
·      to encourage national activity on older persons’ rights in cooperation with the UN Regional Commissions;
·      to encourage alternative means of conflict resolution to promote mediation in the home family and society as early as possible;
·      to support legal mechanisms in late life planning, health care, wills, and power of attorney, living wills, organ donations, and property;
·      to assure legal capacity in late life with due process;
·      to ensure participation of older women and men in decision-making processes that effect them
·      to acknowledge basic rights, such as legal assistance, access to paid family leave, and programs, such as tax incentives for formal care and relieve for caregivers;
·      to develop elder-specific professional-rules-of-ethics to ensure ethical and professional legal services for older clients;
·      to revise existing legislation in accordance with internationally accepted norms (for example on social security, health, property and inheritance) to avoid discrimination on the basis of age and gender.

[i]  All the information about this topic and much more can be found by googling:   Ageism: Concepts and Theories

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