Group of active older people image

The Centre for Ageing Better has partnered with Pexels, one of the largest free stock image libraries in the world, to expand its range of images of people in later life.

The expanded image library will include more than 700 photos that are ‘age-positive’ and will be freely available for public use.

Ageing Better is now calling for more positive and diverse representation of later life across creative industries.

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The collaboration is part of Pexels for Change, an initiative that helps non-profit organisations reach wider audiences and shift narratives. Commissioned by Ageing Better, the photos are available to use for free by designers, students, journalists and more.

According to the charity, the images depict later life in a realistic, positive and diverse way, without relying on harmful stereotypes widely seen across public life. These include ‘wrinkly hands’ or older people depicted predominantly in medical settings, which can be dehumanising and reductive and impact how people think and feel about ageing.

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Too often representations of later life are unrealistic, stereotypical and fail to depict the diversity of people’s experiences of ageing. Ageing is largely viewed negatively and as something to be avoided. This narrative can lead to internalised ageism and have a damaging impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s important that we recognise that ageing need not be a negative experience – later life is something to be embraced not avoided.

“We are working hard to change this ageist narrative and we hope this collaboration with Pexels will help further challenge negative stereotypes and shape more positive attitudes to ageing across society.”

Ageing Better research shows that one in three people within the UK have reported experiencing age prejudice or age discrimination. The partnership follows a range of research and initiatives by Ageing Better to help tackle ageism in society.

This includes designing a new suite of age-positive icons, developed as part of a competition launched with Public Health England. The winning icon rethought the classic road sign featuring hunched over stickmen, replacing them with an older couple dancing.

Through the partnership with Pexels, Ageing Better hopes to challenge ageist narratives and stereotypes and improve attitudes towards later life amongst all age groups. It is calling on other commercial image libraries, media and creative industries to follow Pexels’ suit and do more to increase the range of realistic images of later life we see in day-to-day life.

Laura Stanley, Head of BD & Partnerships at Pexels, added: “Ageing is a process we are all going through. Yet we don’t tend to see a lot of the older demographic in our everyday content consumption. That’s why it’s so refreshing, and important, to see the kind of imagery that the Centre for Ageing Better is sharing.

“I see myself in these images — I see my family and friends in these people. Enjoying life, hobbies, and the activities that we all enjoy, at any age. With this type of imagery, we hope to help challenge stereotypes around ageing and contribute to a more positive view of old age.”

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