The increasing number of old people is becoming a growing policy concern. Negative attitudes towards old people raise questions about the extent to which discrimination against old people exists and elder abuse occurs. This paper describes the occurrence of discrimination against old people and elder abuse, as well as the factors related to it, based on a review of (scientific) literature, official documents and the actions of legal bodies.
Frequent or regular age discrimination, as experienced by old people themselves, is reported by a quarter of European citizens. Data on elder abuse vary and are often not representative; the same goes for data on inequality. Nevertheless, the analysis shows that discrimination against old age and elder abuse occurs regularly in the ‘western world’. Vulnerable old people are especially at risk. National and regional, multi-component action plans are recommended to combat discrimination against old people.