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Why age law reform is needed - real stories

The following case studies demonstrate why reform of age equality legislation is needed. They illustrate how older people are being affected by a lack of protection when accessing of goods, facilities and services.   

Mary's Story

Loss of a health care service when transitioning to services for older people
Health care
Mary who is blind, a diabetic and receives dialysis for kidney failure has been provided with a home care package for the past 15 years.  On turning 65 she was transferred from the sensory support team for the blind to the social work team for the elderly. After assessment she was informed that whilst she needed help with some tasks they would be unable to provide any services due to limited resources available.

Read more about Mary's story>

Alaistair's Story

Quoted excessively travel insurance premiums and wide variations between providers

Alastair (who is 68 years old) applied to renew his existing annual worldwide travel insurance policy and was quoted a significant increase in his premium. At the age of 56 he had surgical heart operation and is on regular medication for his heart condition. He was informed by his insurance provider that there had been a change of insurance underwriter resulting in significant rise in their premiums for a number of older people.

Read more about Alaistair's story>

Martin's Story

Lack of respect when accessing retail services


Martin, who is in his eighties, was collecting his prescription from the high street pharmacy when he was approached by a female assistant in her early thirties who asked him for his name, age and address. Martin asked for an explanation and was informed “we are just testing your mental faculties”. 

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Martin, who is in his early eighties, regularly collected his prescription from a leading high street pharmacy. On one particular occasion as he went to collect his medication he was approached by a female shop assistant in her early thirties, who began asking him about his age, address, name, etc. Martin asked for an explanation in which the employee responded with a laugh “we are just testing your mental faculties”. This response was met with laughs from other employees behind the counter and Martin was “so embarrassed about the whole thing”. Martin was also aware that other customers in the shop could hear the exchange which added to the embarrassment.
When he returned home Martin phoned the chemist to ask for an explanation and to convey his anger about what he experienced. The pharmacist herself answered the phone. She apologized and said “it was only a bit of fun and was surprised he took it this way”. Martin was then contacted by the assistant manageress and was given a telephone number in England to make a complaint. Martin persisted and eventually spoke to the manageress of the chemist where the incident took place and who agreed to meet with him. When they met, the manageress had temporarily lost her voice and consequently ‘mimed’ throughout the conversation.
Martin eventually received a letter of apology and a gift voucher for twenty pounds. However he was dissatisfied with this response and telephoned the number in England he had been given. He made a formal complaint and was told this would be investigated further. Martin has received no further contact or information from the pharmacy about this incident and he remains angry about being subject to such treatment: “I feel like I’ve been treated like an absolute fool”.

Have you been unfairly treated?

If you have experienced age discrimination when trying to access services or facilities we want to hear from you.

Sharing your story will help us to show how this discrimination is affecting our society, and may help us to deliver a fairer and better Northern Ireland for everyone.

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