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Giving Older Australians the Value That They Deserve

Valuing our Ageing Community

Giving older Australians the value that they deserve can’t get overlooked anymore. Through education, we can reduce ageism in our community. Many older people feel dismissed and forgotten, and its time that this changed. As a society we must start to acknowledge the many contributions of ageing people.

Utilising talents

Our society’s very youth focused, yet there’s an increasing ageing population. It doesn’t make sense! Retired Australians have vast experience and a broad skill set. They’re often still wanting to work on a part-time, full-time, or volunteer basis. But we, as a society, aren’t utilising their talents. One can argue that they’ve gained wisdom and knowledge to impart.

Older Australians at Work

Recently there was a story of a 35 year old electrical contractor. He worked towards expanding his construction business. He had a position open for a leading hand electrician. John Smith, a 63 year old electrician applied for the position. He’s worked in his trade for 44 years. John ran a business and worked extensively in the construction industry, and other areas of the electrical trade. He was by far the best person for the job. He possessed superior skills to every other applicant. Yet, he was overlooked for the position. Devastated, he felt that he might have to lie about his age and change his resume to appear less qualified.

Moreover, John isn’t alone. His friend Rob is a builder, and he’s working in a warehouse. He’s 62. Since the business that he worked for went into receivership, he couldn’t get work in his skilled area.

This is the reality for our ageing community. With an amazing collection of knowledge and skills, they’re unfortunately overlooked for younger, often less skilled people.

Reducing Ageism

Although the elderly are highly respected in many societies, in some societies the elderly get marginalised. The World Health Organisation, when discussing fighting stereotypes, suggests that this can be due to enforced retirement ages. It can also be that older people are perceived as less energetic, mentally slow and physically weak. This ageism creates a wedge between the younger generations and the older generations.

elderly man in workshop

Respecting our Most Vulnerable

For our loved ones who’re unable to have direct community involvement, they’re still valuable members of our community. They deserve respect and deserve the right to quality aged care. Caregivers who demonstrate patience, and focus, and act with compassion and consideration help to enhance the lives of our ageing loved ones who’re recipients of care.

Let’s look at the current Royal Commission into Aged Care. Many stories of abuse and neglect have come to the forefront in response to the commission. And, it’s apparent that as a community our attitudes and relationships with the elderly need to change with urgency.

Solutions

How can this be done? It’s certainly not going to change overnight but by educating our younger generations and involving them in the lives of our elderly residents, the barriers will begin to shrink.

By giving elderly people involvement in issues that matter to them, such as involvement in the church parish, or community politics, they become seen and heard. By not enforcing a retirement age and providing better employment opportunities for ageing people we’re demonstrating respect and value to our ageing community.

And finally for our most vulnerable who are recipients of aged care, we need to respect them, show them compassion and advocate for their wellbeing. They’re our parents, and grandparents. One day, it’ll be us, our partners, and friends. Let’s rid our society from ageism.


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