Set ageism aside, help people create meaningful lives

  • Alka Shinghal Pathak
  • Updated: May 28, 2016 08:20 IST

In a recent conversation with one of my professors, I mentioned that her inspiring words ensured that we engage ourselves in meaningful work even in our sixties. However, when a recruiter hears that you are in your sixties, their enthusiasm wanes.

My professor mentioned that like many other existing‘ isms ’, ageismis over taking our country—not by demographics, but by a peculiar attitude towards old age. At 60, you are called a‘ senior citizen’, which implies that you’ ve arrived at the threshold of old age. Sure, one is entitled to discounts, permissions, and subsidised services, which are beneficial for those whose capacities or income have reduced. But these are not for those who continue working well into their sixties and beyond. However well- intentioned, the categorisation has fostered a serious prejudice against such people, who at and beyond 60 are able to continue as productive members of society.

These days, I first communicate my age to all recruiters and then ask them to take the case forward. No one will accept openly that age is a bar, but it can play a major role.

I can quote several examples that have left me feeling discriminated against. These are age-old stereotypes being practised by young and old alike and reinforced by the way we define‘ old’ age. And instead of looking at oldies as poor things and keeping them entertained and happy, let’ s find opportunities to make their lives more meaningful and make them active citizens of society.

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