Research and debate in your own lunchtime

Seniors housing is the first topic off the rank for a new webinar series that brings leading speakers, cutting edge research and interactive debate to the desktops of anyone with an interest in ageing.

By Keryn Curtis

The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), Australia’s largest multidisciplinary professional association of people who work in, or have an interest in ageing, has launched a new series of educational webinars.

The program, which commences on Monday 29 October, has been developed to enable a wide range of people working in and around the ageing sector to participate in thoughtful, high level educational events, regardless of their location.

Australian Ageing Agenda has partnered with AAG to assist in bringing the series to AAA’s readers and subscribers.  Aimed at both members and non-members of the organisation, the topics have been chosen to reflect some of the current and emerging ‘hot button’ topics in ageing research and practice, including housing; workforce participation; lifelong learning; active ageing; volunteering and philanthropy; and age discrimination.

AAG President, Professor Julie Byles, who is Director of the Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing at the University of Newcastle and a co-director of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, said the webinar series program was based on the concept of the regular seminars presented by the Association, but with a view to making them more accessible to a wider group of participants.

“As part of its educational role, the AAG frequently holds seminars in different states and they work really, really well, both as a way of conveying information but also encouraging debate, because the format is always interactive.

“But we know that there are a lot of people, both members and non-members, who would like to attend but can’t, because they might be in regional areas or they just can’t take the time out to travel to a location and attend in person,” said Prof Byles.

“We will still be doing seminar events but we’re complementing them with this webinar series which we hope will work for a lot more people and really extend our educational reach.  So these webinars are designed to follow a similar format – with important topics delivered in a dynamic and interactive way with leading researchers as speakers – but to open the topic up to people who can’t make it to the seminars,” she said.  

The topics list for the first series of webinars has been developed around the agenda set by the first report from the Commonwealth’s Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians (EPSA).

Housing, the new black

Professor Byles said the organisation has chosen the topic of housing as the first topic in the series because of the fundamental role it plays in successful ageing.

“The context for our first webinar is that there is an increasing amount of interest in housing for older people: from the people who need it; the people who want to provide it; the people who want to design and build it; and the people who want to deliver the services around it.

“Housing issues underpin a lot of the ways we approach ageing and aged care.  The type of housing and the neighbourhood significantly affects the type of care people need and receive as they age. 

“When we are thinking about how we can assist someone or care for them, we often think about their physical health or disability; but we need to think about the person within their physical and social environment.  

“By looking at housing we can ask, how is their physical and social environment affecting their health and their mobility and ability to age well,” she said.

Professor Byles said AAG forums like this offer a unique opportunity to participate in robust debate with a multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners.

“AAG events can be really tranformational because they bring together the full range of knowledge and perspectives with research, policy and practice; and also many of the people who are providing goods and services to people as they age.  

“We need the evidence; we need the policy; and we need the reality of the application of the policy. So having researchers, policy makers and practitioners involved in the same forum, they can challenge each other with their different perspectives and you get really robust discussion and learning,” she said. 

Fact file

The webinar, Housing Australia’s Ageing Population: Current Trends and Future Challenges, will be led by Prof Julie Byles, Dr Catherine Bridge from the University of NSW and Barbara Squires, head of research and advocacy for aged services provider, IRT.  The one hour event  will take place take place from 1pm-2pm AEST on Monday October 29th.  

The webinar is free for AAG members and $20 for non-members.  For details and  registration, see the AAG website’s events page.

According to the program, the webinar will:

• Consider the factors that influence an older person’s housing decision

• Evaluate the need for and supply of more supportive housing environments

• Explore strategies to bridge the gulf between the aged care, retirement and community housing sectors

Future webinar topics and schedule

Other dates will be confirmed soon however the next two webinars will take place in February and April 2013.

Webinar 2:  February 2013:  Volunteering and Philanthropy (AAG Hot Topic for 2013).

Webinar 3: April 2013: Workforce Participation and Age Discrimination

Tags: aag, education, housing, julie-byles, webinar-series,

Leave a Reply