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According to a report carried out by SunLife, more than a third of British people admit to discriminating other people based on their age.

The research, entitled The Ageist Britain report, surveyed 4000 adults and analysed thousands of tweets and blogs in the UK. It found that people in their 30s are the most guilty of ageist language.

The most commonly used ageist phrases on social media, SunLife found, were “old fart”, “little old lady”, “bitter old man” and “old hag”. More than 1 in 10 people admitted that they didn’t even realise they were being ageist.

It’s likely that many of us are guilty of this kind of discrimination without even realising it. Carol Vorderman, who worked with SunLife on the research, said:

The report shows that we’re bombarded with phrases and behaviours which imply that life after 50 must be awful and that it’s ‘downhill all the way’.

That just isn’t true, but this nonsensical school of thought will continue unless we raise the profile of the impact this type of language can have.

The report also found that 40% of British people over 50 regularly experience ageism while at work, shopping, or on public transport. More than half of them said that they believe it’s unintentional, but most said that it made them feel less valued, unhappy, or alienated.

People working for initiatives that campaign against ageism, like Age UK, have welcomed the report, with the charity director Caroline Abrahams saying:

Ageism must become as unacceptable as every other form of discrimination.

HT Guardian

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