Ageing and Discrimination – “I feel invisible”

In Seniors Week 2011 COTA Queensland facilitated “I feel invisible”, an Ageing and Discrimination Forum at the State Library of Queensland. The Forum was organised in response to rising concerns amongst older people that age discrimination is increasing in the community. The Forum included key speakers, Mr Kevin Cocks AM, Anti-Discrimination Commissioner of Queensland; a representative from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex communities; a representative from the African Seniors community; as well as small group discussions.

There was a shared view from many participants that ‘feeling invisible’ hindered their daily lives, their relationships with people, and the accessing of the support services they required. While a wide range of issues were discussed, there were some key themes which emerged:

  • Firstly, ageing and discrimination exists across employment, health, and disability, but age discrimination is rarely discussed in a public context, including the media.
  • Secondly, some communities experience an ‘intersection’ of discriminations which leads to further isolation. For example, older people from culturally diverse backgrounds can experience race discrimination as well as age discrimination.
  • Finally, there are significant consequences of discrimination – such as social isolation, depression, elder abuse – occurring on a ‘day to day’ basis.




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