No, we’re not a burden! Call for a rethink on attitudes to older people 43



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As you age it’s a sad but inevitable fact that the way society as a whole perceives you changes. Your partner might still love you just as much as that handsome man or pretty girl they married all those years ago, but many other people automatically relegate you to the “older category” and value you less. Yes, we all know it’s wrong, but that’s the status quo.

But does it have to be that way? Maybe not. Just maybe there is a chance we can change the way society perceives older people so they are valued for our true worth and not judged on the colour of their hair or the wrinkles in their skin. Other societies and culture have been at least partially successful, so why not Australia?

The Councils on the Ageing believes attitudes can be changed, and has called on the Turnbull government to help “shift the paradigm about ageing”, which means essentially the way society perceives older people and ageing.

In an interview in The Sydney Morning Herald chief executive Ian Yates said change was needed so “we do not see older people as a burden”.

Mr Yates said economic reforms needed to include a a review of retirement incomes and also look at how more older people could be included in the workforce.

He said many older Australians wanted to work and made huge unpaid contributions through caring and child minding and were an “important element in improving productivity”.

His call for change came on the eve of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s mini-summit of business, community and union leaders in Canberra today.

Do you think older people are valued less than younger people by many sections of society? Do you think attitudes can be changed?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I would like to think Turnbull would make an attempt to undo the damage Abbott and Hockey have done to the reputation of older Australian’s but I doubt it, he still has Abbott’s Policies. Older Australian’s are of great value I hope they recognize it

  2. Perhaps this perception comes from seniors of the past who did seem to fade away once they became a certain age, bless them, but they were no way near as outspoken and as worldly as our generation. I guess this made them an easy target. It is also about how we perceive ourselves, we need to stand up for what we have worked hard to achieve and by this I dont necessarily mean money, (although I do think this is an issue with all the latest pension, super stuff going on) but a way of life that our current young generation enjoys, which is directly related to what ‘we’ did. We need to be outspoken when it comes to what value we stll have to the community and be a part of it when and however we can. Stand up, be counted, dont be afraid to make yourselves heard. As I keep reiterating, there are so many of us, strength in numbers. I am very proud to be an Australian born in the 50’s, we achieved so much with so little in most cases, and are still here, still putting one foot in front of the other, and usually with a smile on our faces. Well done us !!

  3. We have so much to give – our life ecperience, our time to foster our grand children, our advice to our kuds on frugality etc.We would make excellent councillors and mediators. We are loyal and will long hours to make a Company meet its goals. The Govt has to start a Department to employ and use our skills.

  4. Its the government and the media that’s making people think the baby boomers are the burden to the country not that we all worked for 50 year’s

  5. Thanks Mr Yates. Certainly from an employment point of view, employers’ attitudes towards older people could change. We may be getting older but that does not mean we are stupid. I could quite easily go back to secretarial work, but I guess grey hair doesn’t fit an office environment.

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  6. More interactions between young & old, school pastoral care visits to nursing homes. Our high schoolers loved it & became fond of their visits

  7. We need a council to change attitudes towards older people…..can anyone else see how deplorable society has become….,

  8. NO WE ARE NOT A BLOODY BURDEN and I’m sick of hearing this from our POLITICIANS, we have worked our bums off for the future of this COUNTRY and that doesn’t seem to have any impact on our Politicians now that we need a little extra help.

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