The International Day of Older Persons

Media Release - 1st October 2015

Call To Celebrate Ageing and Tackle Ageism

Today, Thursday October 1, is The International Day of Older Persons. It is the day that we join the global community to recognise older people and celebrate our 570,000 South Australians aged over 50.

But it is also a good time to take aim at ageism which is stifling the full potential of our extra years of life.

"We see examples of ageism everywhere we look - in employment, in popular culture, even in birthday card greetings - all are strong symbols suggesting that we can live full lives only up until a use by date, after which our participation and purpose is severely constrained by ageist attitudes," said Jane Mussared, Chief Executive of COTA SA (Council on the Ageing), the organisation that represents older people in SA.

"This is in spite of the fact that older people are and will continue to be major economic contributors to the state - including as business owners and entrepreneurs."

Ms Mussared said "Ageism is the process of using stereotyping to describe 570,000 richly diverse people as if they were all the same. While forbidden by law, ageism dominates workplaces.

Whereas Australia needs older people more than ever in the workforce, the rate of older Australians in jobs is lower than many of our OECD counterparts.

"And, ironically, while much of ageism is reflected in visible symbols in cartoons and headlines, its other face is complete invisibility. Despite making up more than 14% of the population, people aged over 65 feature in only 4% of advertising content and are mentioned in less than 7% of all editorial media content.

"But there is starting to be research that is balancing the ledger.

"The University of Adelaide has just released research highlighting the importance of our "mature economy" to the future of SA while Swinburne University and QUT recently reported on research that found that the fastest growing group of new entrepreneurs are, in fact, older people, and that more than a third of new businesses are lead by older people."

So instead of buying into negative stereotypes of ageing, COTA SA will today celebrate the International Day of Older Persons by launching Every Generation, a fun and lively festival of events for, by and with older people that will be staged throughout SA over the next two weeks. It aims to counter stereotypes of what an older life is and can be. Every Generation highlights include an expose of SA rock and pop music put together by rock whiz Glenn A Baker and featuring live performances of some of the stars who were "there" and a public lecture entitled "Why Can't We Age?" lead by funny man Bryan Dawe, with a panel including Dorinda Hafner and Jane Reilly.

Bec Tape at Communikate on 0438 806 983 or 8331 1444.

COTA SA is the peak body promoting the rights, needs and interests of older South Australians.

Download a copy of the media release