Representations of older adults during the pandemic (Georgia Smith)

By Georgia Smith

Media coverage has repeatedly stressed that the Coronavirus holds the greatest threat for older individuals. Simultaneously, such coverage has exacerbated stereotypes of the oldest-old, portraying them as passive and vulnerable victims of the virus; blameless, yet burdensome. In contrast, ‘Baby Boomers’ or ‘Boomers’ have been accused of holding cavalier attitudes and berated for their irresponsibility. Highlighting a growing post-Brexit generational divide, the words ‘Boomer Remover’ have featured prominently in Coronavirus-related Twitter trends. This qualitative study thus seeks to explore media coverage of older adults in the context of Coronavirus, illuminating the various discursive narratives used to describe this age group. In particular, it will compare representations of the ‘oldest old’ (85 and over) and ‘Boomers ‘ (aged 55-75).

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