Dave chats with Ian Yates COTA who says Australia will fall short of its economic and social potential while ageism prevents older Australians from fully participating

Leading economists, policy experts and industry representatives are today calling for a nationwide effort to combat the ageism facing older Australians, exploring the social and economic benefits of increasing their participation in all areas of Australian life.

The intergenerational benefits to be gained from including older people in public life will be examined at COTA Australia’s National Policy Forum, Challenging Ageism: what is it and what would Australia look like without it? in Canberra today as experts imagine an Australia without ageism.

“Ageism can be found in many different forms,” said Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA Australia. “From advertising, to the workplace to the way we speak of older people in our lives. We’re missing out on the economic opportunities that an ageing population can make to society because of these structural barriers to fair and equal participation.

“At COTA we constantly hear that older Australians don’t want to ‘retire’ at the peak of their skills and experience. More employers are developing transitions to retirement plans for older workers, so they can retain the invaluable knowledge and skills that older Australians contribute to the workplace.

ultra106.5fm is proudly supported by:

“Today’s forum will call on all Australians to combat ageism where they see it. All of us, from policymakers and business leaders to individuals, have a role to play in creating an Australia without ageism, where all of us are treated with respect and allowed to thrive.”

The EveryAGE Counts campaign, which is collaborating on the forum, is mobilising powerful groups and individuals Australia-wide to challenge and overturn outdated stereotypes about ageing and older people.

Co-Chair of the campaign, Dr Kirsty Nowlan said, “Many of society’s views about older people – the views and assumptions that drive all the negativity around ageing – simply do not apply in this era of prolonged good health and increased longevity.

“Our world is very different to the one our parents and grandparents grew up in.  The idea that people who have always led full and satisfying lives will suddenly take on a whole new life and persona just because they have passed an arbitrary milestone is absurd,” said Dr Nowlan.

“Too many Australians and our institutions are still stuck in that old-world thinking. It’s time we changed the conversation, for all our sakes.”

The EveryAGE Counts campaign’s online quiz called Are You Ageist? has found:

  • 54% believe that terms like “old dear” are harmless, while only 46% see it as either patronizing or belittling.
  • 70% react to seeing anti-ageing ad products thinking it’s wrong and older Australians shouldn’t feel bad about how they look.
  • 18% thought a doctor seeing an older female patient should ask her son’s permission to talk to her. This number rose to 27% among men.
  • 16% think older people have little or no interest in sex, while one quarter of those under 40 admitted to being disgusted by the thought.