Discrimination against older people during the coronavirus pandemic: a case study in ageism
Cook, PS, Discrimination against older people during the coronavirus pandemic: a case study in ageism, Proceedings of the 2022 TASA Conference, 28 November - 2 December 2022, University of Melbourne, pp. 1 piece- abstract. ISBN 9780648221036 (2022) [Conference Extract]
Australian socio-political responses to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have often simplistically connected health and risk to body and age. In Australia, older people have cast as the ‘vulnerable’ and ‘the elderly’ and reduced to stereotypes of frailty and decline. Due to their age, it has been believed that older Australians are automatically at risk of COVID-19, which has homogenised 16 percent of Australia’s population (aged 65 years and over) (AIHW 2021). At the same time, those older Australians who live in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) (~6% of older Australians; Dyer et al 2020), were put at heightened risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2: in 2020, 75 percent of deaths in Australia from COVID-19 were people living in RACFs (AIHW 2021), making it amongst the highest in the world (Power 2020). In addition, from 1 January to 18 February 2022, 742 RACF residents died from COVID-19; higher than the death rates in 2020 (n = 685) and 2021 (n = 282) (Australian Government 2022). Thus, while the strong public health approach by Australian federal and state/territory governments during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 minimised the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, ageism has ensured that older Australians have been diminished.
COVID-19, coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, ageism, discrimination, aged care, residential aged care, long term care, inequality, inequity