One of the problems encountered by the elderly is how people talk to and about them: condescending speech or ‘baby’ talk that deprives them of their dignity and individual identity. This problem is termed elderspeak or in Polish dziadurzenie or gerontomowa. An analysis conducted by the 4th of June Forum Association (Stowarzyszenie Forum 4 Czerwca) has revealed that the main reasons for elderspeak are stereotypical treatment of the elderly, lack of awareness of the harm and discrimination caused by elderspeak, and the inability on the part of the elderly to react assertively to language of which they do not approve.
The project will be implemented in seven municipalities in the Łódzkie Voivodship (Drzewica, Opoczno, Żarnów, Inowłódz, Łask, Łowicz, Uniejów). The project envisages awareness-raising workshops on discriminatory speech – elderspeak – and on how to react to speech of that kind for a group of more than 170 elderly persons and persons who work with the elderly in institutional conditions and in formal relationships. A local social campaign will be held, involving ambassadors (leaflets, spots, meetings with the local community). Under the project, a network will be formed of local institutions, organizations, and people of authority working to reduce elderspeak and making this a term commonly used in Polish.
The project is intended to make people who work with the elderly in organizations, institutions, and care facilities more aware of the harm done by elderspeak, learn non-discriminatory forms of speech, and react assertively to baby talk and condescending speech. Under the project, a network will be formed of local organizations and institutions that work to combat elderspeak. Information packs will also be produced for other organizations or institutions to use in future, to combat elderspeak in their communities.