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Author: Age NI
Published on 24 January 2014 01:00 PM

Age NI welcomes today’s call from Macmillan Cancer Support for health professionals not to make assumptions about an older persons' willingness or ability to undergo treatment based on their age.

Duane Farrell, Director of Policy at Age NI commented, ‘Age NI believes that undignified care for older people is rooted in age discrimination and ageist attitudes. If we had legislation protecting older people from age discrimination in Northern Ireland, it would not be allowed to continue. However, right now Northern Ireland (unlike GB and RoI) does not have anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of age for goods, facilities and services.

'Age NI held a conference in December featuring key note speakers, Nat Lievesley (Senior Analyst, Centre for Policy on Ageing) and Ros Levenson (Independent Researcher and Policy Consultant), who presented stark evidence of age discrimination in health and social care and discussed why it matters (view the conference report).

'Older people tell Age NI that they feel invisible in the health and social care decisions that affect them. They want to have a voice and to be treated equally, with dignity and respect. Their experience is greatly removed from this vision at present. Age discrimination against older people can manifest itself in many ways, for instance up to 50% of older people in residential care have clinically severe depression, yet only between 10%-15% receive any active treatment. An estimated 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS. Ageism of this kind must not be tolerated.

'Age NI is calling on DHSSPS to undertake an urgent review of age equality within health and social care. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel - work has already been undertaken in England to understand how age equality in health and social care can be achieved, and to ensure that dignity underpins older people’s services. We also continue to call on OFMdFM to accelerate proposals to achieve age equality in the area of goods, facilities and services which they pledged to do in this Assembly term.'

Download the conference report

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575