Steve Lundin at Play Up. Photo credit: Nicola Ward.
Steve Lundin at Play Up. Photo: Nicola Ward

Ageing and creativity, transforming workplace culture and busting ageing myths were some of the hot topics at the recent 2nd National Play Up Convention.

American writer and filmmaker Dr Steve Lundin addressed the Arts Health Institute conference on the principles of the FISH philosophy and the benefits of bringing play into the workplace.

He is the bestselling author of the FISH series of books, which is based on four principles: play, make their day, be there and choose your attitude.

The ideas in FISH have been adopted in over one hundred countries across industries as diverse as health and aged care, banking and hospitality.

Positive ageing and combating negative stereotypes
Dr Tim Sharp
Dr Tim Sharp. Photo: Nicola Ward

Elsewhere, founder of the Happiness Institute Dr Tim Sharp (aka Dr Happy) told the audience at Sydney’s Luna Park that society and, in particular the media, was often blind to the high quality of life that can accompany the longevity revolution.

He described increased life expectancy as the gift of a ‘third age’ and said many of the negative portrayals of ageing in the media were simply not true.

He said more than half of 85-to-90-year-olds were still active and 73 per cent of adults 80 and over reported no disability. However the media narrative of ageing was dominated by the language of loss and decline, which overlooked the gains in wisdom, maturity and resilience that often comes with age, said Professor Sharp.

“Happiness can increase later in life as we get better at managing life and our emotions,” he said.

Professor Sharp also told the audience that studies have demonstrated the effects of ‘thinking young’. He encouraged aged care workers to employ the benefits of positive reminiscing with clients, which helped to “rewind time”.

He also discussed the power of positive relationships. “The most significant factor for positive ageing is loving and being loved,” he told the convention.

Centenarian dancer honoured

During the convention, the Arts Health Institute honoured dancer and choreographer Eileen Kramer with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her long and distinguished career as a performer, artist and author.

Lifetime Achievement award recipient Eileen Kramer (left) with Shane Caroll
Lifetime Achievement award recipient Eileen Kramer (left) with Shane Caroll, AHI board director. Photo: Nicola Ward

The inspirational centenarian was a founding member of Australia’s first modern dance company Bodenwieser Ballet, and has since toured extensively overseas as a performer. The 100-year-old dancer was recognised for her passion and enduring contribution to the creative arts and her embodiment of positive ageing.

Prior to accepting the award, the prolific artist took to the convention stage to lead the audience in a group dance session, where her elegance, poise and love of movement were clearly on display. He embrace of life and creativity at any age was an inspiration to many in the room.

The Arts Health’s Play Up Convention took place at Luna Park on 24-25 November.

Australian Ageing Agenda is the media partner of the AHI.

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