LASA is actively supporting the 1 October United Nations International Day of Older Persons and the beginning of the World Health Organisation’s Decade of Healthy Ageing, as part of its quest to help older Australians live the best lives possible.

“Celebrating Australia’s respect for ageing and the capacity to live longer lives to the full is a sign of our success as a society,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“Realising better ageing futures for the growing numbers of older Australians will help build stronger and more sustainable communities.

“This means greater opportunities for older Australians to enrich our nation in multiple ways through their continuing contributions to families, social life, volunteering and even workforce and business engagement.”

In Australia, the almost 4 million people (15 per cent of the population) aged 65 and over is projected to climb to 8.8 million (22 per cent) in the 2050s, while the global total will be 1.5 billion.

This year for the first time, the number of people aged 60 years and older worldwide will outnumber children younger than 5 years.

The theme of the International Day of Older Persons is: Pandemics – Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?

Its objectives are to raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and their contributions to communities, while increasing appreciation of the role of the care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older people.

Increasing understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning and attitudes is also a priority.

Mr Rooney said Australia was at a watershed moment for ageing well that must be embraced by communities across the country.

“With the sad impact of COVID-19 on too many older people and the looming conclusion of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, we are at a pivotal point for a better future,” he said.

“We know the current aged care system is not meeting community expectations, so we must collectively understand what those expectations are.

“We need communities to be engaged and understand ageing and aged care better and we must broaden the general participation of people in making the system the best.”

The Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020 -2030 aims to:

  • Ensure older voices are heard
  • Nurture leadership and capacity building across generations
  • Bring together research and innovation to improve ageing
  • Connect people worldwide to share and learn from their experiences

As the UN says, the Decade of Healthy Ageing is an opportunity to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media and the private sector for ten years of concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.

“Hopefully, the common theme of COVID-19—we are all in this together—will continue, as the nation realises that ageing well is relevant to every person,” said Mr Rooney.

“Better ageing futures are not just going to happen because we wish them to occur, they are going to happen because we all take action.”