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IFA Virtual Town Hall Chat Summary 22 May 2020

The following chat summary is from the IFA Virtual Town Hall on 22 May 2020 with Mr. Peter Evans and Mr. Eli Singer, sharing on facts and fiction in communication.


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Ageism and fiction in the media

  • Erroneous views and ageist stereotypes about older people circulate widely in media, especially in relation to deaths in aged care facilities. How can negative messages that devalue the lives of older people be combatted?
  • There is a lot of institutional ageism, benevolent patronage and negative images/language. How can this be addressed?
  • An issue is that media has a 24/7 news cycle and needs to have content all the time and/or be first with the latest news. Everything seems to be breaking news when in reality it’s usually just news – whether it’s been fact checked or not.  The rush to be first is causing a lot of damage.


Community media

  • Several community art collectives and projects are having a positive influence on media around COVID-19 and older people.
  • Mosaic Home Care Services have reached out to new graduates of theatre and acting colleges and with a group of 6 actors will create short films (stories) that address intergenerationalism, ageism and empathy.
  • Quite a challenge bringing stories to life when long term care facilities are closed to visitors and even family members.
  • Interesting ideas to be organic and use your community including artists, musicians, and other story tellers. We have to think outside the box and cannot rely on academic charts and graphs to communicate effectively.
  • In Greater Manchester (GM), older community reporters are sharing their experiences. GM Ageing Hub is working to promote real stories from older adults. It can be damaging to exclusively share the ‘extraordinary’ circumstances of older adults, therefore everyday stories are valuable.
  • One participant’s mother is in an excellent residential care facility and has created knitted head bands first for her longer hair and now for many of the staff and other residents. These types of feel-good stories have a positive impact in the community.
  • More stories on seniors recovering from the virus and more positive stories on care homes are needed in the media. There are many facilities that are doing the right thing but are getting drowned out in the media by negative news.  While a care home southern Maine is doing everything right, they are not getting any press for it.



  • For many NGOs around the world, financial resources are limited for communications, media, etc. Much of their work is done by volunteers.  What advice do you have for focusing on key areas for advocacy?
  • What are some recommendations to reach local journalists, and how can civil society organizations contribute to news cycles and get noticed?


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