The annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) Forum focussed on ageing this year. The panel discussion, Conversations on Ageing was facilitated by the Victorian Commissioner for Seniors, Gerard Mansour. Gerard is also the Victorian Ambassador for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
Gerard introduced the conversation by presenting on the report “Ageing Well in a Changing World” and its findings from over 5,000 consultations. During his introduction, Gerard highlighted the 8 attributes of ageing well and focussed on positive attitude, being respected and being respectful, connectedness with others and staying in touch.
“The objective in avoiding elder abuse is the opposite to that which is ageing well,” Gerard said in his presentation.
“We want to be valued in our community, irrespective of where we are on the journey of ageing,” he said.
The panellists joined the conversation and brought with them personal insights into the ageing journey. Selected from a variety of backgrounds the panellists spoke of their passions, concerns and future ambitions.
Jennifer, a Volunteer Speaker with Seniors Rights Victoria and a climate change activist said, “I find it important to be part of a group, that shares my values and ideas so that we can give each other hope.”
Chandra, who is President of the Sri Lankan Welfare Association, spoke of her future desire to work with the children and grandchildren of older members so that they gained a greater understanding of older people.
The panel included two buds from Lively, a non-profit organisation, that employs young people as Lively Helpers offering care and support to keep old people active, social and connected to their community.
Val, a 76 year old woman who disclosed that she is legally blind, said, “I have a lot to achieve yet and see the future as a window of opportunity.”
Her bud, Nate, a 23-year-old helper from Lively, said, “What I really like about the age I am at is the spontaneity to be able to do the things I want.” Nate brought a refreshing perspective to the conversation on ageing and challenged the often-held view by older people that “younger people have no respect for older people”.
Conversations on ageing was an important contribution to the discussion on ageism, which is the main driver of elder abuse.