Ageism and COVID-19: What does our society’s response say about us?

Sarah Fraser, Martine Lagacé, Bienvenu Bongué, Ndatté Ndeye, Jessica Guyot, Lauren Bechard, Patrik Marier, Francine Tougas (2020).
Age and Ageing, 49(5): 692-695


The goal of this commentary is to highlight the ageism that has emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 20 international researchers in the field of ageing have contributed to this document. This commentary discusses how older people are misrepresented and undervalued in the current public discourse surrounding the pandemic. It points to issues in documenting the deaths of older adults, the lack of preparation for such a crisis in long-term care homes, how some ‘protective’ policies can be considered patronising and how the initial perception of the public was that the virus was really an older adult problem. This commentary also calls attention to important intergenerational solidarity that has occurred during this crisis to ensure support and social-inclusion of older adults, even at a distance. Our hope is that with this commentary we can contribute to the discourse on older adults during this pandemic and diminish the ageist attitudes that have circulated.