Friday 1 October 2021

Media Release

To mark Australia’s first Ageism Awareness Day, the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has today released an age-positive language guide.

“Like any form of prejudice and discrimination, ageism strongly impacts wellbeing,” NARI Executive Director, Professor Briony Dow, said.

“We know the health consequences of ageism can be far-reaching, including physical and mental illness, cognitive impairment, reduced longevity, poor quality of life and wellbeing, and denied access to healthcare and treatments.”

Ageism Awareness Day, which coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, is designed to draw attention to the existence and impacts of ageism in Australia.

Ninety percent of Australians believe that ageism exists in Australia, and 83 per cent believe that ageism is a problem. Most Australians (63%) report experiencing ageism within the past five years.

“Simple actions are among the strongest ways we can combat ageism, including the ways in which we portray older people,” Professor Dow said.

The Guide provides practical examples of how words, phrases, and images can better portray older people and combat ageism, particularly in research – for example:

Ask Yourself
Poor Example
Better Example

Do the terms I use to describe a person or group of people challenge or perpetuate stereotypes about older people?

  • Old person
  • The elderly
  • Seniors
  • Older person
  • Older people

Does my language place the person or the ‘problem’ first?

  • Dementia sufferer

Person with dementia OR person living with dementia OR person with a diagnosis of dementia

Do the images I use to represent a person or group of people challenge or perpetuate stereotypes about older people?

  • Images that portray older people as ‘onlookers’
  • Images that only portray older people as frail and/or care-dependent
  • Images that portray older people as active participants in society and in meaningful activities
  • Images that are reflective of the diversity in older peoples’ physical fitness and independence

View and download NARI’s guide: Strategies for combatting ageism through age-positive language.

Media enquiries: Olivia Joyce – 0448 129 595