‘We are still able to do things properly and with quality’
Tomaž is a member of the European Working Group of People with Dementia; with Alenka his supporter, he wrote this statement about his experience of ageing in a world where we disregard the value of older people and forget about the diverse life experiences they may have been through.
“The major problem is people still underestimate the abilities and skills of older people. As a matter of fact, we need more time to think or finish specific tasks, but we are still able to do things properly and with quality.
Ageism is a kind of social construct. When I was young, it was normal for young people to have a deep respect for and admire the wisdom of older people. Nowadays, this is absolutely gone. Ageism overthrew the great old values. Imagine how you would like to be treated when you are getting older.
No one has ever thought about the fact that elderly people have experiences, have maybe gone through difficult life situations (wars, poverty, hard work), have some health problems, low pensions and less equal opportunities in society (e.g. health insurance, adapted public transport, education, part time jobs…).
Yet, we need to equally accept every older person, no matter of his/her background or whether he/she has dementia or disability. To reduce ageism, it might be helpful to reanimate and connect younger and older generations. The intergenerational projects have a potential to fight over this never-ending stigma.”