On June 15th, Seniors Rights Victoria held its annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day flagship event online. The focus of 2021’s Stir A Cuppa for Seniors Forum was challenging ageism; the main driver of elder abuse, and urging attendees to agitate against ageist attitudes and stereotypes.
Facilitating a conversation on experiences of ageing, Ambassador for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Gerard Mansour, introduced the topic by presenting his report “Ageing Well in a Challenging World”.
“The whole objective of avoiding elder abuse is to age well,” Gerard said, presenting some of the 8 attributes of ageing well. This included a positive attitude, be respected and respectful, connectedness and participating in a changing world.
A group of four diverse panellists had a conversation on their own experience of ageing. Jennifer, Chandra, Valerie and Nate brought a range of perspectives. Nate and Valerie are part of the Buds Program of Lively, a home-care provider that employs younger people to offer support to seniors, Jennifer is a former Senior Achiever of the Year and Chandra is a Sri Lankan woman, and community leader.
23-year-old Nate, from Lively, has worked with Valerie to increase her confidence using technology.
“The window of opportunity is closing,” 76-year-old Valerie said, “however I’m pushing the window back up because there’s still a lot more to learn.”
Among the take home messages from the panel discussion was the fine balance between accepting the limitations of ageing and not letting them overtake you.
Ageism can only be counteracted by the representation of older people as valuable and contributing members of the community. Each of us has an obligation to stir up ageist attitudes so that younger and older people can continue their lives with dignity and respect.
You can read more about Gerard Mansour's report “Ageing Well in a Challenging World”, here.
Seniors Rights Victoria has also produced a resource providing an overview of ageism in Australia, examples (language, the media, elder abuse, and workplace discrimination), advice on how to
stop it, and further resources. You can view the PDF here.