The campaign. was started because we, recognised that our society has a problem.
We have a culture in which
The UK has 11.9 m people over 65 who have to live with this view of who they are. A further 12m in their middle years are moving towards it. They fear it.
This negative image of old age is inappropriate for ageing in today’s world. Yet it is deeply, unwittingly, internalised in all our minds.
A stream of stories on the problems of ageing emerge from the media. The NHS and the Age related charities need to highlight these issues too. And so add to it.
We hear and absorb the bad news. It is no ones role to counteract it. No one corrects when facts are slanted or ignored. (See next blog ) Myths about age continue to circulate.
A negative view of old age, whether held by others, or by ourselves, is harmful. It affects our health, mental and physical, our social wellbeing, and the extent to which we enjoy life. It affects our employment opportunities. And certainly underlies many of the problems facing the NHS and Social Services.
However, there is good news!
This current stereotype IS WRONG. Seriously wrong! Old people today are living 10 + extra years of active, busy, involved lives. They report levels of happiness and satisfaction with life higher than at any other life stage! (See #AgePride on Twitter)
Negative views can be reversed! Techniques that are known to be successful are now available to us. We can create a fresh new positive image of life in later years.
Negative attitudes develop from the ideas and memes we are exposed to. A steady stream of images of wrinkly hands, frail elderly people and headlines about Alzheimer’s combined with continual praise of youthfulness soon produce the sad old age stereotype.
When we are fed the Positives, the opposite occurs. If regular notions of ordinary older people enjoying useful busy, active lives is dripped into our vision, we begin to absorb them. Especially when value words like ‘Maturity”. “Wisdom” ‘Serene’ “Tough’. “Experienced’ and ‘Happy’ are added. Day by day, week by week a new positive view builds. An acceptable, even desirable image is created.
Changing ingrained stereotypes requires this type of behavioural approach. Facts, protests and arguments have limited effects. Subtlety is required.
The Negative to Positive Campaign aims to:
Create and launch a positive image of the NEW OLD AGE.
ie the desirable ‘must have’ new model. And at the same time quietly dispel the current myths and fears.
The Key Concepts:
Generate a general trend to openly taking Pride in Ageing, in achieving/ owning this new improved version of old age. ie Feel good about having made it. Ego building. An Age Proud movement. Wear the T shirt!
Make Ageing Well feel important. Make reaching a joyful active old age be seen as the new aim …a fresh type of life goal for all. One that is available to and benefits all.
Get recognition for the value of know how, a long view, wisdom and maturity. And employers, business and service providers all realising that this new version of later years is relevant to them.
Counteract and balance the current tendency to negativity about ageing. Be a vehicle for the dissemination of good news stories and facts about the successes our society is achieving in creating extra, quality life years for us all.
How are we doing it?
Stage 1. Awareness raising.
Alerting the public, the professions, service providers, policy makers and charities, to the problem, to the need for change and signalling possible answers. Done through social media and blogs, public speaking, networking.
Stage 2. Recruiting support.
Carried out On line and tweet surveys. Asking for those who agree on the need for an actual campaign to support and ‘Like”. The result was welcomingly pro.
Stage 3.Generate a flow of Positive views of Later Years on line.
The campaign was started in May 2019 via a simple on line flyer.
Led initially by JW it has no resources, no staff, no website as yet. Just 1000s of people who can see the need and are willing to support the campaign. Not by funding. But by personal action.
Supporters are asked to find, share, retweet, campaign messages with their followers and friends. Anything positive : messages, quotes, blogs, good news about age items and happy active pictures of normal older people.
ie Flood the social media and creating a pyramid effect.
This is where we are now. Launched and supporters beginning to take action.
The campaign’s strength will come through us, the active supporters.
And from recruiting older people who have discovered for themselves that the stereotype is wrong and wish it to be known. And the many others from all fields who understand the problem and the need for action.
Together we will become active ambassadors for change, using our only free resource – Our energy and the social media to put out the message via our followers and friends.
Stage 4. When there are sufficient supporters actively involved, the campaign will need a slightly more formal footing.
To grow the campaign must move away from the present founder.*
Form a small on line (Skype Meetings?) Steering Group of interested parties to provide the necessary coordination, communication , direction and development for the active supporters.
Stage 5. Seek to influence at a National level.
Seek to work with the NHS, Age related charities and other relevant National bodies to discuss, research and find a coordinated approach to the problem. Plus develop mutual understanding of each other’s roles yet accepting and working to the common aim of altering the currently harmful image.
Possibly seek funding for a major National Campaign.
In anticipation that this could be the eventual way forward, funding has been found for an example Marketing Strategy (Available on request) The draft illustrates how to be effective, the campaign will need to target specific messages at particular segments of society. Eg The general public. Older people who have internalised the negatives. Mid Lifers who fear ageing. Employers, Young people. Businesses. The NHS, Service providers and policy makers.
This post lays out the basics of the campaign and suggests for you a way forward.
Thank you all for your support. You have been incredibly positive about it, in every way. So pleased and excited that you share my belief in the importance of getting this noxious historic image changed.
I do hope you will all join and be active contributors.
Please subscribe to this site: GrandmaWilliams.com *
Won’t cost you anything, but will keep us all in touch. And encourage me and the other supporters!
Look forward to hearing your comments there.
*Temporarily, I am offering a section on this blog site to act as a communication point for newsletters, facts, comments etc We will also use the Twitter hashtag #AgePride. Look for it on Twitter search.
Should someone offer to set up and run a dedicated web site and Facebook page it would be gratefully accepted. I cannot.
The association of a positive attitude with health, rehabilitation, and quality of life is well established. Even a small % change will have significant benefits for the NHS and Community Services. (Reference Prof. Peter Gore’s work on the LifeCurve effect.)
The sense of fear and negatives about ageing will be reduced in the Millennial group. They will have a clearer aim and motivation to age well.
Business, Retail and the general public will begin to adopt a new mindset about age.
Most important, the existing over 65 cohort who had internalised the current stereotype with resulting depression will regain self pride and and a revalued ego.
Major support and commitment by the influencers in this field and by the beneficiaries.
Funding to research and develop the Marketing Strategy required to produce this effect.
Funding to implement the PR programme Nationwide.
Most current work in this field is about the problems facing individuals and society as the ageing population increases. The role of Charities, the NHS, policy makers etc is to raise these issues and argue for solutions. The media too are only interested in the doom and gloom scenarios.
This campaign is intended to be the opposite. No mention at all of problems or issues!. As in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy all positive behaviours are rewarded, any moaning ignored.
For it to be successful at National level, there would need to be a very clear understanding of this difference.