Ray Glickman, CEO of Amana Living, challenged conference attendees this afternoon to “stop being the nice guys” and “get mad as hell” to help rally all Australians to the cause of its ageing population.

Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot’s “record levels of funding” was put firmly in its place with Glickman breaking down the cost of providing a bed in a residential facility to just $120 per day, in comparison with the $1000 per day needed to provide a bed in a hospital.

But Glickman’s presentation wasn’t simply a tour through the aged care statistical landscape. He talked of the “struggle” and the need to alter the way older Australians are viewed, comparing it with the gay rights movement and the way, as a marginal section of society, they effectively mobilised and campaigned for change.

Glickman also called for a change in aged care rhetoric.

“We need to change from woe is me to woe is them,” he said. Glickman talked about changing the focus of discussion from providers to the people they care for and really getting Australians to engage with their older generations, to really make them care about them as people and the issues that affect them.

“What’s happened to Grey power?” Glickman asked and then challenged his audience to become the leaders in a new movement that would see older people instilled with pride and actively engaged in their own struggle for better conditions and funding. He also said that the aged care industry should assist consumer groups with reform, help engage everyone in their lifestyle of the future and, importantly, get the “young old interested in the old old.”

Glickman ended his presentation by asking everyone to get up, stand up and join him in his own version of the famous Bob Marley song. His speech was a rousing call for the end of the “disease to please” and a call for action which, judging by the round of applause he received, did not fall on deaf ears.

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