Millennials have the most negative outlook on the future
Published on: June 10, 2018
by Camilla Turner for The Telegraph:
Millennials have the most negative outlook on the future, with a quarter believing that depression is normal in older age, a study has found.
Two in five 18 to 24-year-olds see dementia as inevitable, according to a report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
Researchers evaluated ageist beliefs across 12 areas of life and found that attitudes to ageing and older people are nearly three times more positive among those from black ethnic backgrounds.
Millennials – those aged 18 to 34 – have the most negative attitudes to ageing of all the age groups, with a quarter believing it is normal for older people to be unhappy and depressed, researchers found.
The report, published in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, also found that the public are most ageist about appearance, memory loss and participation in physical and community activities.
Half of women and a quarter of men say they feel pressure to stay looking young, while two-thirds of the public have no friends with an age gap of 30 years or more. Researchers are calling for policy changes to help re-shape the nation’s view of ageing in a more positive way.
These include an end to the term ‘anti-ageing’ in the cosmetics and beauty industry and positive ageing to be addressed within schools. Nurseries and care-homes should be under the same roof to bring generations together, RSPH says.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH, said: “Too often ageist behaviour and language is trivialised, overlooked, or even served up as the punchline to a joke – something we would rightly not tolerate with other forms of prejudice. “Our report shows that ageist attitudes abound in society and have a major impact on the public’s health, and yet they are rarely treated with the seriousness they deserve.
“With more people reaching older age than ever before, it is crucial to act now to promote positive integration across the generations.
“It is indeed encouraging that the majority of the public still believes that, fundamentally, the old and young have more in common than divides them.
“If we can begin to remove the stubborn barriers that reinforce societal ageism, we can expect many more to look forward to later life as a period of opportunity for growth and new experiences, rather than a set of mental and physical challenges.”
The report found more than two thirds of the public agreed that “fundamentally” older people are no different than those of other ages. In the research, entitled About That Age Old Question, 2,000 adults in the UK were asked to complete a survey.
Questions were focused on 12 areas – participation in activities, memory, appearance, physical health, personal growth, role in society, social connections, impression of ageing, personality, independence and control, happiness and emotional stability and wisdom.