On 1 October, we celebrated the International Day of Older Persons, recognising the vital contributions that older people make.
There are many benefits that come with ageing. Retirement from full time work gives people the freedom to spend time on the things that they love most. It can be a liberating time; a time to meet different challenges and to try new things.
It is not all good news, however. There are challenges that come from getting older. People may have trouble with their mobility and health, or may not be able to do the things they could when they were younger.
Loss of confidence can lead to isolation and loneliness, as individuals choose to stay at home, rather than continue to participate actively in the community.
Many older people experience ageism, they feel invisible and suffer discrimination based on negative stereotypes due to their age. As a society, we have become more aware of ageism and on 7 October we marked Ageism Awareness Day, but we still have a way to go.
Groups like Council on the Ageing (COTA) SA are challenging the old rules and stereotypes of older age, as they no longer fit with our modern reality and what it means to age well.
Age brings experience and wisdom, and we can all benefit from listening and engaging with older people.
A person’s health plays an enormous role in their ability to enjoy life. We can take our health for granted and how much it contributes to our overall wellbeing. A debilitating illness can sap the pleasure from things that may have been enjoyable in the past.
COVID-19 has been a reminder that, even with mild symptoms, fatigue and ill health can affect the way in which we live our lives.
Aged care services play a critical role in supporting individuals as they age, from a little bit of help with the shopping and social outings, to higher levels of personal care.
Involvement in social groups or activity sessions can result in new friendships, improved health outcomes and provide a renewed sense of meaning. Reducing social isolation and loneliness is particularly important for wellbeing.
Ageing may not be all good news, but with assistance we can aim to age well.
Opinion piece by Darren Birbeck,
Chief Executive Officer,