One of the key challenges law faces is how to combat ageism.
Various legal instruments, such as anti-discrimination legislation attempt to tackle the issue by either making age discrimination illegal, or by legally empowering older persons through legal representation and rights advocacy.
However, sometimes, law itself uses an ageist approach. Some examples can be found in the field of elder guardianship or anti elder abuse and neglect legislation. Many times these legal policies adopt a negative and stereotypical approach towards older persons, portraying them as weak, incapable, or vulnerable.
In an interesting move, a group of American organizations, including ASA, AARP, Archstone Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Endowment for Health, The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Retirement Research Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, and The SCAN Foundation - have funded a project titled "ReFraming Aging".
One of the reports, written by the FrameWorks Institue, entitled "Finding the Frame: An Empirical Approach to Reframing Aging and Ageism" presents some very interesting insights regarding the way we as a society should "frame" our discourses around age and aging. The report emphasizes the importance of values, words, language, metaphors, as social vehicles which shape our social construction of old age.
We as lawyers, and legislatures, and as professionals who use law as an instrument for social change, are responsible for the usage of words and language in order to secure justice.
Hence, it seems that this report may be of much relevance to all elder law persons around the world. Here is a link to the report:LINK TO REPORT