Sometimes I despair of this happening, particularly in developing countries where many of them are still a long way from achieving equality for women even. How can any country think it can lift itself out of poverty if it ignores the qualities and talents of half of its population? The same of course applies to a country’s attitude to its older people. Any country which talks about an ageing population ‘problem’ is missing out on the talents and abilities of its older cohort. One day we will talk about our ageing population ‘bonus’ and we will be well on the way to a much more prosperous country, and a more prosperous world.

In the midst of this gloom occasionally a beam of light appears. This happened to me recently. In one of the nearby country towns an aged care provider had the brilliant idea of having a ‘Grey in May’ celebration of ageing. The idea seems to be to not only include the residents of its own already quite large complex (it has facilities for independent living, nursing care and intensive care) but also the rest of the town. The month long festival includes a village walk, a community BBQ, an Art Show, a morning tea for its large number of volunteer helpers and a luncheon for the whole town. Wow! May there be many more organisations involved in aged care who take a similar positive approach. We hear a lot about older people having problems as they get older, particularly physical problems as our bodies deteriorate, but how much easier they become if we live in an environment as positive as this, where older people are celebrated. Well done to Mark Sewell and his staff at Warrigal.

I have received this link to their website I wonder how many people watching it are aware that these are aged residents in an aged care facility? This is such an enlightened approach to aged care and I would like to think is a light leading the way forward for other aged care providers. Believing in older people and believing that we have a lot to offer shouldn’t be such a huge step, particularly with such a wonderful example to follow. Next year the International Federation of Ageing is focussing on Age Friendly Cities at its international conference in Brisbane, Australia. I always have problems with this concept as I think they should be friendly to all age groups, many of which have similar needs. The month long celebration of ageing discussed above certainly creates a more age friendly environment and I hope helps all the older people in this town to walk with their heads held high long after May is over. If the older people are happier then the rest of the town will be and will benefit from it.

There is hope ahead