Creating awareness of ageism and elder abuse

The Older Persons Advocacy Network presents a webinar on Tuesday 18 October. Photo: OPAN.

AGEISM Awareness Day on Friday 7 October provides a specific opportunity to draw attention to the existence and impacts of ageism in Australia.

“Ageism Awareness Day is an opportunity to draw attention to the existence and impacts of ageism in Australia, which is a critical step to changing community attitudes and building a world where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged,” states Compass, the national online organisation navigating elder abuse in Australia.

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Compass aims to create a national focus on elder abuse by raising awareness of this growing social issue, and simplify the process of connecting people to services and information tackling elder abuse.

A call-out from Compass, ‘Ageism: End It’, looks at how ageism plays out in people’s lives.

It may be as seemingly innocuous as having a laugh at how Granddad is peering over the top of his glasses at his laptop.

Remember, Granddad has been navigating technology since manual typewriters, his failing eyesight is normal and does not make him stupid.

Less innocuous scenarios can involve bullying, intimidation and discrimination leading to serious consequences for the older person.

Ageism is a prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.

“It can affect how we think, how we feel and how we act towards others or ourselves based on age, it can manifest, for example, as refusing to hire or interview people over or under a certain age.

“Ageism might be about viewing older people (or yourself) as out of touch, less productive or less valuable.”

Compass says ageism is a highly accepted form of prejudice in Australia and alarmingly on a global scale one in two people are considered ageist.

That’s half of the world’s population that hold negative attitudes about ageing and older people.

“In Australia, we’re leading the world in learning how to end ageism, but we still have a long road ahead in changing social attitudes,” states Compass.

The Coffs Harbour Older Women’s Network (CH OWN) believes ageism has an impact on everyone and is something the organisation will be addressing going forward.

CH OWN spokesperson Lorraine Penn told News Of The Area, “Older women have many years of work experiences and knowledge and are willing to share/mentor younger women, as experienced during a Focus on the Future Through Mentoring Forum CH OWN held during International Women’s Week.

“For this we collaborated with Toormina High School to source younger women to participate in an interactive event, including workshopping methods of empowerment, building confidence and sharing knowledge with older business women.

“It is how you are prepared to assist and share knowledge that makes the difference.

“Older women are the untapped resource that businesses need to acknowledge and employ effectively,” said Lorraine.

For more on CH OWN visit” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) has an online community, a support line (1800 700 600), services to help you know your rights, online conferences and talk sessions.

“Whether you live in the community or in an aged care home, we are here to listen and identify solutions that put your needs first, supporting you to stay in control of your aged care,” states OPAN.

OPAN is presenting an Ageism Awareness Day Roundtable webinar on Tuesday 18 October at 2pm.

Register for the free event at

EveryAGE Counts is an advocacy campaign aimed at tackling ageism against older Australians: see

EveryAGE Counts co-chair and former federal Minister Robert Tickner has commented on Ageism Awareness Day as an important initiative which sees many individuals and organisations around the country having conversations about ageism and its impacts.

“The proportion of the Australian population over 65 has doubled from eight percent to fifteen percent over the past 50 years,” he said.

“We can’t keep discriminating against a fifth of our population.

“We need to update our attitudes, structures, and practices.

“Of course, the responsibility to act lies not just with those who experience ageism, but with everyone else.

“Discrimination and prejudice survive when we turn a blind eye or allow it to go unchallenged.”

Seniors Rights Services is a free confidential service protecting and advancing the rights of older people, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged groups: phone them on (02) 9281 360.


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