Rachael Saunders reflects on why Older People's Day is a chance to shift the debate around older people and challenge negative stereotypes.
Share your stories from today by tweeting us @AgeBITC using #OlderPeoplesDay
Older People’s Day, established by the United Nations in 1991 is being marked all over the world today. It is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the changing nature of ageing. Whilst in the past, a day like this might be marked by a focus on the vulnerable elderly, we are now shifting the debate.
We are living through a time of transition.
The first person who will live to 150 has already been born. Many of us will work well beyond the current state retirement age, partly because we will have to – by 2035 42.7% of the UK population will be aged over 50, leading to a very big pensions bill, unless things change quickly!
However, in deprived parts of the UK, healthy life expectancy can be as low as 52, meaning very different expectations around economic contribution across different communities. Different solutions will be needed in different places and for different people.
In any time of change and transition, there will be winners and losers. Our job is to create opportunities for those that need them. At Business in the Community, we are focusing on working with our member companies, led by Aviva, the Co-operative Group, Home Instead, Nationwide Building Society, the Royal Air Force, Walgreens Boots Alliance and more, to change how business works so that all have access to decent employment regardless of age.
We are tackling early exit from work. Our Missing Million research showed how a million people between 50 and state pension age can’t get a job, something that cannot continue. We are innovating on solutions to extend working lives, and we are developing tools to make the most of the ideas and innovation that will result from the multiple generations working alongside one another.
Older People’s Day is also a chance for us all to stand up against the negative stereotypes and attitudes about the contributions of older people that stand in the way of fairness.
We are marking the day by sharing our new myth buster factsheet which dispels stereotypes about older workers. For instance, did you know that older workers are great at innovation?
Find out more by viewing our myth buster factsheet.
Share your stories from today by tweeting us @AgeBITC using the #OlderPeoplesDay