Churches Encouraged to Challenge Ageism in Society Ahead of the International Day of Older Persons

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Author: Faith in Later Life

This Sunday, 1st October, marks the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, with a focus this year on fulfilling the promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations. The Christian charity, Faith in Later Life along with its partners is calling on local churches across the country to do more to address issues of ageism, which is contrary to the human rights of older persons, in their communities.

The recent Reimagining Care Commission led by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York speaks into the importance of addressing the ageist societal narrative which exists. As part of the continued call to bring this issue into sharper focus within the church, Faith in Later Life has laid an Early Day Motion in Parliament, under the name of Jim Shannon MP, Health Spokesperson for the DUP. The motion speaks of the need to recognise the contribution made by churches in their work with older people in communities across the country by Faith in Later Life Church Champions and other volunteers. It calls for further action to proactively ensure that older people experience a sense of flourishing in their communities.

Alongside this call, Faith in Later Life is endorsing a range of excellent resources produced by the Salvation Army for use in churches this coming weekend. The theme that the Salvation Army has picked up is ‘I See You’ recognising that issues around ageism can only be addressed when older people are seen. Other resources being made include guidance from Professor Keith Brown, one of the charity’s Ambassadors, on important questions that churches can ask themselves to assess their own hidden attitudes to age.

Ahead of the International Day of Older Persons, Alexandra Drew, Lead Officer of Faith in Later Life said:

The International Day of Older Persons, led by the UN, is calling for the fulfilment of the promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons this year. Faith in Later Life welcomes the work being done by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York through the Reimagining Care Commission launched earlier this year to speak into attitudes towards older people, especially those around ageism. We recognise however that discrimination based on age needs to be addressed across the whole of society. The Bible is clear that age and experience have value, and churches are well positioned, experienced and motivated to model and express genuine love and care for older people and to encourage and facilitate meaningful and purposeful engagement into later life. It is a pleasure for us to work with our partners, church champions and friends to keep this important call on the church’s agenda.

Speaking of the Early Day Motion, Jim Shannon MP added:

It is a privilege to table this Early Day Motion ahead of the International Day of Older Persons both shining a light of this important day from the UN but also the work of the churches in supporting older people. I am grateful to Faith in Later Life, its partners and church champions for their continued work to promote a change in the narrative at a local level.

I pray that this Early Day Motion keeps the conversation around older people on the political agenda.

To find out more about the resources that Faith in Later Life are offering for the International Day of Older Persons, please visit

A range of spokespersons are available from Faith in Later Life for media interviews by prior arrangement.

For more information or media requests, please contact Adam May, Communications Consultant for Faith in Later Life on 07736 949 869 or [email protected]