During the health crisis and more recently during the elections, we have seen many age-related comments on social networks. ‘Sunday results can only be thanks to a sleeping pill in the herbal tea’† “we can just take away their voting rights”† “We saved the old with the vaccine. Big mistake “† So many hateful messages that were the subject of a campaign by Little Brothers of the Poor† “It is urgent to remember that age discrimination, just like racism or sexism, is punishable”, the association replied to the comments, not without a certain class. Here are 6 prejudices that the association that fights against the isolation of the elderly would not like to hear in the future.
#1. Older people are “haves”
All old rich? This cliché is harsh, especially since the presidential campaign in which we present the elderly as staunch apostles of the neoliberal policies of re-elected President Emmanuel Macron. However, it is useful to remember that our seniors are not all in the same boat. in 2020, nearly 350,000 women and 280,000 men received the minimum age (solidarity allowance for the elderly), a monthly financial aid awarded to low-resource retirees living in France, according to INSEE data.
It is this kind of help, but also the smaller proportion of households, that people aged 65 and over (excluding people living in institutions, nursing homes, rest homes, long-term hospitals, etc.) poverty line weaker (8.6%) than for the entire French population (14.8%), again according to INSEE.
#2. Elderly are no longer active
One belief suggests that the elderly do not invest in French society. However, it is not to know the daily life of these men and these women whose old days make it possible to… participate in community life or devote oneself to a hobby alone or with loved ones. Due to the cessation of their professional activity, our elderly spend most of their days on leisure: 7:33 am average†
If two-thirds of this time is at home (television, rest), for some people the other third may be doing a sports activity, a creative hobby, or even volunteering. 5 million elderly people are involved in associations according to the Ministry of Health. With almost 90% of the associations working only with volunteers, the 34% of the volunteers are over the age of 50
#3. Old people are allergic to digital
Our seniors are far from digital, that’s a fact. 27% of people aged 60 and older never use the internet, according to a study by the Little Brothers of the Poor and the CSA Institute (2021). This represents 3.6 million people far from digital technology at their expense, for lack of resources and social support.
However, digital technology can have a positive impact on the lives of old people. We saw it during the incarceration: instant messaging groups made it easier for families to keep in touch with distant grandparents or great-aunts, making their sense of isolation, a major plague in the daily life of old agewhich we already told you in this article.
Smartphones have even gained ground among the elderly since the pandemic, even though they use these tools sparingly, as can be read in Weather† In question ? Their skills are still quite low (only 13% of retirees say they “very competent” with a computer, compared to an average of 31% of the population) despite the desire to be digitally trained†
#4. Older people have a stalled libido
The sexuality of the elderly is still a taboo in our society. However, aging is not necessarily synonymous with abstinence. This is according to a study by the University of Manchester. Conducted on 7,000 over-70s, it indicates that more than half of men (54%) and a third of women (31%) still have sexual intercourse, reports the Little Brothers of the Poor.
Another study from The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University shows that although the frequency of sexual intercourse decreases over time, the majority of women and men in their 60s and 80s say they are always excited about sex and intimacy† Even better: about 20% of people over 65 have a sex life “better than ever”according to a study from Duke University!
#5. The environment is their least concern
Are old people not interested in climate change? This is another attack we hear too often about our seniors. And yet the old ones are part of the proportion of the population most likely to change their consumption behaviouraccording to a study by market research agency BVA, commissioned by the European Investment Bank, and published on the website of The cross †
- 28% of over-65s have already reduced red meat consumption, compared to 24% of adults aged 30 to 64,
- 41% of the over-65s buy local or seasonal products compared to 29% of the young people aged 15 to 29,
- 47% of over-65s say they are not yet ready to give up their dream trip (a major CO2 consumer) compared to 54% of young people aged 15 to 29,
- 95% of the over-65s selectively sort or give up plastic bags, compared to 82% of the youngest.
Public transport remains the most popular with young people. 34% of 15-29 year olds prefer it to a car, compared to 24% of over 65s. This data can be explained by the lack of access to public transport for the oldest and/or most isolated people.
#6. Aside from their health, the elderly don’t really have a problem
Health is one of the issues of most concern to French women and men, especially since the pandemic. But health problems are not the only challenges older people face. Insulation is also a plague that affects many peoplewhether they are in top condition or not.
In France, 2 million people over 60 years old have no daily contact† 530,000 are on their side in a situation of “social death”, that is, never meeting other human souls, according to the latest barometer of the Little Brothers of the Poor. A growing figure that worries the association, which continues to fight against the isolation of our seniors. Because the the consequences of this isolation are many : sleep disorders, hypertension, increased stress, depression, decreased sense of well-being, weakened immune system, decline in cognitive functions… Hence the need for younger age groups to interact with older people and ignore prejudices against them.
You think you know everything about older people and the stereotypes that surround them † to check it, test your knowledge with this special quiz about age, prepared by The little brothers of the poor for clearing prejudices †