By Euan Stewart (words); edited by Lucy Young - Creative & Cultural Business Students on placement in the Research Strategy & Policy department - 28 July 2022

Ageism or age discrimination is where someone treats a person unfairly to their age. This has been the recent focus of Professor Angela Kydd who has been working on an EU funded Horizon 2020 project looking into Euro-Ageism.

Horizon 2020 was an EU funded project that provided €80 Billion to a variety of projects between 2014 and 2018. The project was designed by the EU in order to allow academics to ensure that Europe’s seat at the top table of research was available for the foreseeable future. 

Professor Kydd has over 15 years of industry experience as a nurse before 20 years of teaching at the University of the West of Scotland. Following on from this Professor Kydd took up a position at Edinburgh Napier before eventually travelling north to Aberdeen to join us at RGU making the city her home, even becoming an Aberdeen Ambassador, shouting about how wonderful the Granite City is. As she reaches the end of her time here at RGU and heads towards retirement she plans to write several books all aimed at tackling ageism. These books will be practice guides for healthcare staff aiming to change their actions and attitudes, allowing people, specifically elder ones, to be treated with far more dignity and compassion. 

The study Angela worked on was based out of Israel and had input from multiple other institutes around Europe. It was in line with the key goals of Horizon 2020, ensuring Europe’s academic future by pairing multiple PHD students with the research academics involved. RGU had 2 successful applicants allowing them to study for their PHD, and in the true inter-continental style of the project the academics had to complete a secondment in another country. 

The aim of the study has been to redefine the way ageism is seen and address how it can be addressed as a discriminatory issue. This is vital work as the study has allowed for funding that has in turn helped the study raise the profile of ageism. One other key take-away the study has delivered is that the definition of being old must be redetermined with people 55+ being classed as old, which in modern society creates a situation where people spend the majority of their life within this category. At the heart of the issue lies the simple fact that most humans will become a part of this category at some point in their lives, yet we often treat them with the least amount of respect out of all age categories. It is a systematic issue, however a key route to tackling ageism is through healthcare, just like this study that Professor Kydd was involved in. These findings will create a path for some real change in this area, and hopefully make the latter of many lives far kinder. 

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