News & Events

From the CEO – International Day of Older Persons

September 30, 2017

This Sunday, the International Day of Older Persons, is an opportunity for us all to consider the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world.

As CEO of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria, I am fortunate to meet older people from diverse backgrounds.  Some have had positive experiences throughout their life while others have not been so fortunate.


My role is to drive the vision and mission of OCAV while ensuring that we create and maintain communities that are accepting of all people irrespective of their background and that they are provided with affordable, dignified living and care in a community in which they are welcomed and engaged.

This year the theme of the International Day of Older Persons is “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.”

As I move around our four villages, it is evident that our residents live out this theme every day. Almost all of our residents are contributing either to their fellow residents or in the community. We have a 90-year-old woman, for instance, who runs the library at our Fitzroy North village; we have residents in our Euroa village who volunteer for Probus, the local meals on wheels service, the local op shop and also play a leading role in the running of the village; in Berwick, our residents drive other elderly people to appointments, are volunteers for the Lions and Rotary Clubs while in St Helena, our residents volunteer within our aged care facility and throughout the community.

These contributions are not to be taken lightly. Keeping active enables our residents to live long and healthy lives. They continue to make the most of their talents and skills, participating in different ways to shaping the future of OCAV.


At OCAV we prefer the term ‘elders’ to older people. Elders are revered and looked up to for their knowledge and experience. It is a good term, we believe, because it cuts through ageism, the widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older persons is a social norm and therefore, acceptable.


We are acutely aware that society needs to change the story and people’s mind set from one of being a drain on our society to one that recognises the value of our elders, not only for their contribution during their earlier working lives but also for their extraordinary value in later life as vaults of knowledge, raisers of grandchildren, and community volunteers.


The International Day of Older Persons is a good place to start.


"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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