Breaking down ageist stereotypes: Embracing Age Without Limits

Age Without Limits Action Day is all about challenging the often narrow, negative and stereotypical way that older people and ageing are portrayed in our society, something very close to our hearts at Yellow Jigsaw.

Talking About My Generation – the first older people’s led newsroom in the country – is a project we are passionate about, working alongside the team of 60+ community reporters to challenge these very stereotypes, giving people a platform to voice their opinions and views, and to shine a light on positive ageing.

We could not agree more with the theme of the action day ‘See and Be Seen’, as you cannot be what you cannot see – and that is why we exist – platforming and celebrating the huge diversity that exists in ageing.

Age Without Limits Action Day, the first of its kind, provides a chance for everyone, including younger generations, communities and businesses to make an effort to change the stereotypes associated with ageing and older people.

We can all challenge the things we see and hear. Questioning negative stereotypes or informing discussions is a powerful first step to challenge the societal norms of ageism.

Ageism, the discrimination or prejudice against individuals based on their age, affects people of all generations but often hits older adults the hardest. It’s not just about numbers; it’s about the assumptions and stereotypes that accompany those numbers.

Too often, older adults are unfairly pigeonholed into narrow categories, their abilities and contributions overlooked or dismissed. But the truth is, age should never be a barrier to living a full and enriching life. Here are a few ageist stereotypes that we need to challenge head-on:

Productivity peaks early: One of the most common misconceptions is that productivity declines with age. However, countless examples debunk this myth. People continue to make groundbreaking discoveries, launch successful businesses, and contribute to their communities well into their later years. Age does not diminish talent or ambition.

Technology is for the young: Another stereotype suggests that older adults struggle to adapt to new technologies. From social media to smartphones, older adults are staying connected, learning new skills, and starting online businesses. The digital divide is narrowing, and age should never be a barrier to accessing the benefits of the digital age.

Health equals decline: Ageing does come with its challenges, but it’s not a one-way ticket to frailty and illness. Many older adults are leading active and vibrant lives. From yoga to marathon running, we often see that age is just a number when it comes to staying healthy and strong.

Creativity wanes with age: Creativity knows no age limit. Many renowned artists, writers, and musicians produce some of their most inspired work later in life. Experience, wisdom, and a lifetime of stories can fuel creativity in ways that youth alone cannot replicate. Society benefits when we value the creative contributions of individuals across all stages of life.

Retirement means irrelevance: Retirement is often seen as the end of one’s productive life, but it can be a new beginning. Many retirees discover passions they didn’t have time to pursue earlier in life, whether it’s volunteering, traveling, or starting a new hobby. Retiring from a career doesn’t mean retiring from life.

As we celebrate Age Without Limits Action Day, let’s commit to challenging ageist stereotypes and creating a world where people of all ages are valued and respected.

Let’s recognise the richness and diversity that every generation brings to the table. By breaking down barriers and embracing age without limits, we can build a more inclusive and vibrant society for all.

We stand against ageism.

Read more about out work with Talking About My Generation here.