News & Events

From the CEO – Let’s call out ageism

April 18, 2017

Every day I am constantly amazed by the energy and commitment that our residents make not only to OCAV but also to the greater community. It is a privilege to be ‘invited’ into people’s lives and learn more about what they have done, what they are doing and their plans for their future. This same privilege is also eye-opening for another reason. It has shown me how often we take older people for granted at best, ignore them or discriminate against them at worst.

Ageism affects us all. Stereotyping older people as a burden or out of touch is always problematic. It leads to prejudices affecting attitudes, poor policy such as mandatory retirement or superannuation changes, or bad practice.

Ageism should concern us all.  For the first time in history, many of us can expect to live into our eighties and beyond. Although we are living in an ageing world it doesn’t have to be an ageist one.

However, a recent analysis carried out by the World Health Organization using World Value Survey data of around 83,000 adults from 57 countries demonstrates that there is a real problem. Sixty percent of participants said that older adults are not well respected.  Unlike other sexism and racism, ageism is largely accepted and often unchallenged because of its implicit nature.

At OCAV, as part of our Vision 2020, we are working to change public discussion about older people. Rather than dwell on the easy depictions that older people are burdens; we highlight their value and showcase their contributions across a range of spectrums whether they be social, economic or otherwise

We actively encourage our residents to remain involved in whatever they love doing. This is especially noticeable in the lead up to our 150th anniversary in 2019 where a group of residents are researching history and planning events. They are leaving no stone unturned, and their creativity shows no limits.

As you will read in this newsletter elsewhere, in our villages, our residents are active volunteers, mentors, and contributors in different ways to the community within and outside our villages. They are shunning negative ageing attitudes and instead are proud about their ageing.

The benefits are evident. Our residents are generally in strong physical and mental health. They remain engaged. They have a positive, can-do attitude.

In late April, our villages will mark Anzac Day, each in their own way. It is a time where we stop to pay our respects to those who are still alive and to remember those who have died for the country. It is a highlight of the OCAV calendar.

In May, we will mark International Volunteers Week with a celebration of all our 170 volunteers, many of whom are our residents.

Through our industry leadership and advocacy, we are calling out on ageism whether it is in housing, elder abuse, or end of life care.

Together we have to work to combat ageism.

 

Keith White, who had heart surgery two years ago, reckons he’s better now than he has ever been. He puts his state of health and well-being down to the life he has found at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa.

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