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Campaign aims to change controversial elderly road signs

A campaign has been launched to change the image used on elderly crossing signs, in order to better reflect the older generation.

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Campaign aims to change controversial elderly road signs

A campaign has been launched to change the image used on elderly crossing signs, in order to better reflect the older generation.

The image has been a source of controversy for many years, but now the ‘Signs of the Times’ campaign is hoping to change that. Anna James, the founder of Spring Chicken, which is a site selling gadgets to help make life easier for older people, has asked designers to submit alternatives. By teaming up with the brand and communications company NB Studio Sign, both are hoping to rebrand the image of ageing.

Over 70 entries have been received, including one by graphic designer and typographer Margaret Calvert, who created many of the road signs used throughout the UK today. She created the ‘children crossing’ sign based on herself and her younger brother, and has drawn on the same inspiration to create her entry for the campaign, which shows them 50 years on.

Reinventing the image of older people

The current sign depicts two elderly people hunched over with a walking stick and was a winning entry in a competition that had asked children to create a design over 35 years ago. It has since been criticised for implying that all older people are disabled, with many complaining that the signs are unnecessary and that people listening to music or using their phones while crossing roads considered to be more of a hazard than the elderly.

In fact, pensions expert and campaigner, Dr Ros Altmann called for them to be banned, stating in an article on the Telegraph website that, “we do not need a sign to warn people of older people. It is redundant. I don't think they are serving any useful purpose and they are damaging.” She also explains how the sign portrays to people that the old are frail and disabled, which contributes to the age discrimination that still exists in today’s society. Even those who are disabled can maintain their independence by looking at the different stairlifts, wheelchairs etc. available to them and choosing one to suit their needs, enabling them to freely moving about as they please.

Vote for your favourite redesigned elderly crossing road sign here.

Image Credit: Mike Murry (Flickr.com)

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