Ageism is discrimination too: 3 important takeaways from Generous Futures — Addressing Ageism

Season 2 of Generous Futures kicked off with a powerful discussion about ageism in Canada.

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Haweya Fadal
Haweya Fadal is an Alumni Relations Officer at Ryerson University, specializing in content creation.

What is the role of Black leadership in charitable giving? What does giving look like from an Indigenous lens? What role does philanthropy play in addressing 2SLGBTQ+ justice and equity?

These are just a few topics we addressed in season one of Generous Futures: Power and Politics in Charitable Giving. Now, the series is back for another season, exploring the struggles, politics and possibilities within the charitable sector.

The season 2 premiere Addressing Ageism highlights how charitable giving is carving new pathways for seniors. The panel, moderated by Michael Nicin, Executive Director, National Institute on Ageing features experts in the field, Dr. Samir Sinha, Mitch Frazer, Chameli Naraine, and Delores Lawrence.

Here are three key takeaways from the conversation about how we can all do our part to support Canada’s ageing population:

Ageism is discrimination too

The reality is; unfortunately, many people do not view ageism as an unacceptable form of discrimination. The Global Report on Ageism published by the United Nations this year states that “ageism damages our health and well-being and is a major barrier to enacting effective policies and taking action on healthy ageing.” As Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Health Policy Research, Ryerson’s National Institute on Ageing mentions in the discussion, this goes for both old and young people. Older people often find their experience and contributions are not valued, while younger people are dismissed for their perceived lack of knowledge. An example of ageism in charitable giving is the lack of funding donated to geriatrics compared to pediatrics. But as Dr. Sinha points out, this creates opportunities for people looking to make a difference with their donation.

With age comes wisdom

Older employees within organizations often feel like they are being pushed out of their roles to make room for younger co-workers. This is because many workplaces don’t hide their preference for younger employees, who may stay with the company longer than their older colleagues. However, as Mitch Frazer, Partner and Chair of the Pensions and Employment Practice, Torys LLP, points out in the discussion, a change of perspective by employers could greatly benefit organizations. Frazer recommends employers learn how to recognize the value all employees bring to the organization and tap into these strengths. For example, a mentorship program would allow older employees with a wealth of experience to impart this knowledge to their younger counterparts. Chameli Naraine, President and Chief Executive Officer, Symcor Inc., added to Frazer’s points by sharing her experience running a company during the pandemic. Her older employees’ wisdom, knowledge, and expertise were crucial to helping the company navigate uncertain times. 

Donating time goes a long way

When people think about donations, the first thing that comes to mind is money. However, there are many other ways to ensure that, as a community, we’re doing all that we can to support our ageing population. As Delores Lawrence, President & CEO, NHI-Nursing & Homemakers Inc., mentions in the discussion, loneliness is a big issue for many older adults, which was exacerbated due to Covid-19. While monetary donations are always needed, companionship and the gift of your time can be extremely beneficial, as well. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and are interested in volunteering with seniors, Lawrence shares that you can learn about programs through community organizations or local churches. Additionally, the University Health Network runs the Maximizing Aging Using Volunteer Engagement (Mauve) program, which links trained volunteers with elderly patients in hospitals needing companionship and support.

To hear more from this discussion, you can check out the Addressing Ageism event on our Youtube channel or watch it below.

Don’t miss out on any of the upcoming events shedding light on equity and belonging in Canada. Register today!

Generous Futures: Dismantling Anti-Asian Racism

December 09, 2021
1:00 PM EST – 2:00 PM EST

Generous Futures: Advancing Disability Rights

January 31, 2022
1:00 PM EST – 2:00 PM EST