Commonwealth Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson and campaign co-chair Robert Tickner at the launch of the EveryAGE Counts campaign

Aged care providers, peak bodies representing services, seniors and experts in ageing, and individuals from the media and academia are among a diverse group spearheading a campaign to counter age discrimination in Australia.

Just over 12 months after not-for-profit provider of aged, disability and family support services the Benevolent Society announced it was building the initiative, EveryAGE Counts was launched at its new offices in Sydney on Thursday.

The campaign, which includes 14 organisations and eight individuals as foundation members, aims to build a national people’s movement that equips individuals and groups to speak out against ageism wherever they find it.

Speaking at the launch, campaign co-chair Robert Tickner (pictured above) said ageism was the last remaining bastion of discrimination and stigmatisation still largely tolerated in society.

“Ageism is an entrenched social norm, which is part of that informal body of beliefs and behaviours that we unconsciously accept as self-evident,” he told the audience.

Mr Tickner called for a National Agenda for Older Australians to improve economic, social, health and civic participation outcomes for older people and a whole-of-government action on ageing and ageism.

“We would like to see governments at all levels help drive a public conversation about ageing and ageism including support for a broad, sustained public awareness and education campaign,” Mr Tickner said.

Kirsty Nowlan

Aged care sector encouraged to lead the way

Campaign co-chair Kirsty Nowlan, executive director at The Benevolent Society, said the campaign was important because older people as recipients of aged care services and pensions were often portrayed as a burden and cost to society, which devalued people’s experience.

“Aged care providers should get behind the EveryAGE Counts campaign because they deal with the reality of ageism on a daily basis,” Dr Nowlan told Australian Ageing Agenda at the launch.

They can do that by supporting their residents and clients to join in the campaign as well take part at the organisational level, she said.

“Organisations can sign up to the campaign and then think with their staff about what it means for them to be part of an organisation that is confronting ageism,” Dr Nowlan said.

“I strongly believe that people who work in aged care are going to be at the leading edge of this movement because [they are] deeply committed to older people and their wellbeing and we need to now get the rest of Australia on board.”

All Australians are being called upon to visit the EveryAGE Counts website to pledge their support and watch and share the campaign video (below).

EveryAGE Counts organisational members

  • Australian Association of Gerontology
  • Aboriginal Community Services
  • Aged & Community Services Australia
  • Australian Human Rights Commission
  • The Benevolent Society
  • COTA Australia
  • ECH
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia
  • National Seniors Australia
  • Per Capita
  • Regional Australia Institute
  • The Australian Centre for Social Innovation
  • United Voice
  • Your Life Choices

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  1. As I see two baby boomers standing proudly in the launch photo it occurs to me they are the generation whose mantra once was “don’t trust anyone older than 25”. The erosion of respect and reverence for older citizens was a casualty of the youthful exuberance of this generation.

    They are a vocal and demanding demographic that continues to dominate dialogue, it is somewhat fitting that now in their senior years they are trying to repair the societal shift they created, and if unsuccessful will lie in the bed that they made.

    I strongly believe that this is important but it is not the last remaining bastion of discrimination and stigmatisation still largely tolerated in society. If in doubt speak with Australian women who still earn 15% less than their male peers or travel a mile in the shoes of a Somalian new immigrant.

    Ageism for white males is usually their first encounter of discrimination – it’s shocking for them and there is a current of self centred, simmering anger amongst many of them, often directed at immigrants, women, politicians, gays, young people, basically anyone who is handy to blame. Lets remember that respect and equality is a human right and it begins amongst us and by us.

    Segregation contributes to discrimination, we no longer live in multigenerational households, as a society we need to find more ways to integrate. School visit programs to aged care centres profoundly benefit students and residents, yet remain rare. We need all kinds of integration, we need grandmas and grandpas to visit creches, we need mentors of all kinds, we need volunteers involved in aged care facilities and migrant resource centres, we need to get the kids up to the Mens shed, there are so many ways this can be done. It is very hard to discriminate against a demographic when you know and love a member of it.

    We are a technologically connected society that by the day gets less and less emotionally connected, so take a bit of time away from your smart phone today and connect with someone you usually wouldn’t. Be the pebble in the pond of change.

  2. Articulating the members of these societies needs to be done.

    To date on this initiative i can find zero evidence of this : this includes no response to contactng this consortium when i discovered it had been firmed.

    I have personally as a 77 year old found several of them most resistant to engaging thier members who may have something to offer, so unless this changes i can see this alphabet list of initials achieving little. I dearly hope that this time i am proved wrong.

    Please, prove me wrong!

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