After the public took a moment to recognise World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a groundbreaking resource is emerging to combat ageism within the health care sector, spearheaded by dedicated individuals determined to make a difference.
This revolutionary resource is a culmination of extensive research, collaboration, and a shared dedication among researchers from Torrens University. The result of their hard work is the Challenging Ageism online course which highlights what it’s like to experience ageism and the common assumptions and behaviours that contribute to ageist attitudes.
The one hour course delves into the concept of ageism, its origins, and the significant impact it can have on individuals’ well-being and our communities as a whole. It will help participants to gain the ability to identify ageism and discover practical methods to actively confront and combat it.
— TorrensUni (@TorrensUni) June 15, 2023
Torrens University Research Fellow Dr Rachel Ambagtsheer spoke of the detrimental impact ageism can have for those on the receiving end of it, highlighting the importance of initiatives such as Challenging Ageism.
“We see ageism entrenched in human resources policies and practices and in the health care sector where genuine medical conditions can be passed off as ‘old age’, leading to poorer mental and physical health for older people in our society,” Ambagtsheer said.
“Ageism essentially contributes to a more unfair, unequal and divisive society, which can almost pit the generations against each other.”
While the main focus of the course is ageism towards older people, its goal is to create widespread awareness about ageism and offer practical strategies and ideas to combat it.
Executive Dean of Health and Education at Torrens University, Professor Matthew Mundy said it’s crucial to increase awareness about ageism within the healthcare industry and society at large.
“An ageist mindset in the health care sector can have long term negative effects on a person’s health and wellbeing,” Mundy said.
“As an institution that is training the next generation of health care professionals, we have a responsibility to ensure that our students can identify and avoid ageist preconceptions in their practice.”
With 45 per cent of Australians over 50 claiming that they have experienced ageism in the past year, the university’s researchers are doing important to prevent ageist behaviours.
Executive Officer, Elder Abuse Action Australia and organisational member of the EveryAGE Counts coalition, Bev Lange recently told Starts at 60 that “ageism comes from widespread social acceptance of negative attitudes and beliefs about the value of older people and later life.”
Lange stressed that in order to help stamp out such discriminatory behaviour, “we need to work together to combat ageism in Australia” and “support the growing social movement to shift attitudes towards older age and older people.”