Moving aged care into the 21st century

The rationale, structures and life stages that shaped society last century no longer apply, says a leading social researcher.

Aged care organisations need to move on from last century’s outdated modes of thinking, according to one of Australia’s leading social researchers.

Mark McCrindle told the Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA) national congress in Melbourne that times have changed and businesses need to adapt as well.

Mr McCrindle argued that unlike in the twentieth century, life today is post-structural.

“It used to be that work took place in the workplace because that’s where all the files were,” he said.

“But now because of the internet and wireless technology, work takes place anywhere and banking is not just done between 9.30 and five, Monday to Friday.”

A post-structural world also means that there are more subcultures, Mr McCrindle said.

“When it comes to understanding the clients of tomorrow, let’s not assume that one 80-something is like another 80-something.”

Another change identified in Mr McCrindle’s research is that people today are post-rational.

“By this I mean that the ways people make decisions are changing,” he said.

“If all our brochures and communications pieces are just full of information and dot points, we will end up with agree-ers: people who say, ‘Yes, I know it’s true in my head but I don’t feel it in my heart’.

“But if all you offer is a great experience and emotional feelings, that won’t work either. There needs to be a connection to both the head and the heart.”

The third major change in the twenty first century, according to Mr McCrindle, is that the traditional life stages, such as childhood, the teenage years and adulthood, no longer apply.

He said today’s young people are postponing the conventional hallmarks of adulthood, such as marriage and home ownership, while older people are revolutionising retirement.

“The life stages have been muddled – they don’t apply anymore,” Mr McCrindle said. “We cannot accept a twentieth century definition of a 70-year-old or a 17-year-old in the way we used to because people keep redefining themselves.”

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