We have been talking recently with a woman in her late 50s, about how the recent pandemic has affected her in her working life. Here’s what she had to say:
“It is as if older people have to sacrifice themselves. And as if only care and medical issues are our concerns, rather than also continuing to contribute to the society we live in. There is unfortunately an inbuilt biological element in ageism, and whilst this makes it unlike the other “isms”, nevertheless it is still unjust.
It is of course fair that younger workers are helped, but there is this feeling around (and I speak as an older person), that somehow more has to be made up to them, than older people. And yet they do have years to recover and forge a different society for themselves. Hostility towards older people, for example, ‘boomer remover’, is also offensive.
On a practical level, during the pandemic, I have witnessed older workers feeling disempowered because younger workers are often refusing to wear masks. I have also witnessed ageist comments from repair men, who put on masks grudgingly because they are working ‘for old people’.”
What our friend is describing, is an even greater division in our communities, just at the point when we all need to rely on each other. Has this been your experience too?