Shared community wisdom needed now more than ever, as fears of ageing rise


Sad but true is that just shy of half the population (49%) do not think they will look good when they are old, according to a new survey. Staggering.

As reported in this column a few weeks ago, the Centre for Ageing Better recently launched the Age Without Limits campaign to tackle widespread ageism in society.

Negative stereotypes and misconceptions about ageing abound and are reflected by the media, the language used in everyday conversation and the attitudes that help fuel appallingly negative perceptions.

The Age Without Limits campaign warns that internalising these negative views creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that impacts individuals’ self-esteem and limits their activities and even their clothes.

The three-year campaign aims to challenge ageism and help change negative attitudes about age and ageing.

The new national survey conducted for Age Without Limits, which will help track public attitudes towards ageing as the campaign progresses, also reveals that:

  • One in two people (46%) don’t think they’ll be as effective in their job when they are old.
  • Almost one in two people (42%) don’t think they’ll be as good at driving.
  • More than a third (38%) of people expect not to have a good social life.
  • More than a third (36%) don’t think they’ll be able to adapt to new technology.


Fact – ageing need not be a negative thing. However, to change everyone’s way of thinking, we all need to challenge both perceptions and our use of language, just as we have racism and sexism. Ageism needs to become a thing of the past.

Reaching a healthy and respectable age is a privilege and one that we should embrace, never giving in and never giving up. Why should we step aside in retirement and adopt self-deprecating phraseology like, ‘not at my age’ and ‘I would have when I was younger.’

We carry with us into age a breadth of experience and knowledge that should be taken advantage of, not cast aside.

COVID was a problem, particularly amongst the older population, but now that restrictions from Covid 19 and the lockdown are becoming a distant memory, it is time to welcome people back in greater numbers to the many groups and activities in the Bay.

Two of those are the Torbay Assembly (TA), which was a key part of the Ageing Well Torbay programme and initially focused exclusively on the over 50’s, but the legacy is to support residents of all ages, and the other is the Torbay Older Citizens’ Forum (TOCF) which has been running for a number of years.

Both groups cover the whole Bay and have similar aims and objectives, namely providing a platform for discussion where matters of concern can be raised, influence decisions being made by statutory authorities, have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience to improve services, celebrate people of all ages; and to support the local authority, statutory services, voluntary and private organisations to achieve and maintain the World Health Organisations Age Friendly status for Torbay.

This is your opportunity to join in, have your say, and impart some of your aged knowledge and experience; it matters and makes a difference!

The two groups meet quarterly and have a varied programme of speakers and advice sessions, so two of their annual meetings are now combined, thus providing an opportunity for all members to meet up in a friendly atmosphere. free meetings and free refreshments.

The next joint meeting is on Monday, 1st March 2024 from 2pm to 5pm at The Paignton Club on the Paignton Esplanade, with the following agenda:

2pm – Intro and welcome to TA and TOCF membership and new people

2:10-2:35 – Helen Harman: “Age UK Torbay, can we help you?”

2:35-3 – Matt Dart: Opportunities and Volunteering in Torbay for Spring and Summer

3:35-4 – Jackie Thomas: Places and Spaces, Big Plans for Torbay in all three towns

4-4:30 – Paignton Heritage Society: The history of Paignton Harbour

4:30-4:40 – Thanks and time for questions regarding TA and TOCF

4:40-5 – Optional walk around Paignton Harbour

New members are always welcome. For further information, contact Torbay Communities’ Jess Slade by emailing [email protected] or call us on 01803 212638 (please leave a message – someone will get back to you)