Harrogate’s older people face age discrimination

John Dorman and Christine Boxall, from the Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service, both of whom attended the AGM this year.
John Dorman and Christine Boxall, from the Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service, both of whom attended the AGM this year.
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Older people in Harrogate have highlighted several areas where age discrimination is a real problem for them.

During a discussion at their annual general meeting (AGM), committee members of the Harrogate District Over 50s Forum and members of the public discussed the matter at length, citing many examples of agism in society.

We are older people trying to fight our corner and as you get older it gets harder to have that fight all the time. We shouldn’t have the barriers that we have to face.

Social events organiser Ann Hill

Issues ranged from not being able to hire a car if you’re over 75 and having to pay extra for travel insurance, to not being able to take out a mortgage over 60 or no breast screening for women over 73.

Social events organiser on the committee and former chair Ann Hill started the discussion.

She said: “In 2005 I went to the University of Oxford to write a research paper on discrimination towards older people.

“A decade on I have been looking back on how things have improved. We still have no full legislation against agism - it has gone some way but bizarrely financial services are exempt.

“By 2030 there will be more than double the people over the age of 85 and 51 per cent more over 65s than in 2010 and we are leading for a big overload.

“Age discrimination remains and figures say one in three older people are discriminated against.”

The intention of these discussions, which will also be held on safety and security in the home, is to raise the issue and make people think about how best to approach the problems older people face.

Mrs Hill said she will be taking her findings to the North Yorkshire forum and it has been discussed up from that, going to government.

Others at the AGM, held this month in Harrogate Borough Council’s chamber at Crescent Gardens, raised problems they have faced with technology and collecting parcels without a driving license or passport.

Mrs Hill said:“It may be a far cry and we may not get anywhere, but unless you bring these things to the fore it may get a lot worse.

“We are older people trying to fight our corner and as you get older it gets harder to have that fight all the time. We shouldn’t have the barriers that we have to face.”