You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

This year has been a busy one, although without any overseas conferences. In March I was sponsored to attend a Masterclass for
students doing research into ageing, in Brisbane. This proved to be an interesting experience. It reinforced my impression that most research is being done by young researchers whose knowledge of ageing comes from what they read in books- which are written by other younger researchers. To me this is a dangerous situation, and is a barrier to first class research.

Later in the year I attended a conference in Sydney on employing older workers. There were many employers represented- but no older workers! I subsequently used part of my research data to submit a paper on employing older workers to a conference on employment in Newcastle in early December. This published, refereed paper should be available on the Centre of Full Employment
and Equity website or email”></A>.

I also presented a paper on how the role of general practitioners in the ACT will change with an ageing population, at a conference on health in the ACT. I followed this with a presentation on Successful Ageing at the ANU Intergenerational Forum in October.

The more research I do the more I am convinced that ageing is much more successful if it is part of a seamless life span. The pension was a wonderful financial help to those near the end of their lives, when it was introduced. Today, with increasing life expectancy, it has tended to become a right to a carefree, paid, decades-long existence which appears to be far from a physically or mentally healthy way to live. There are plenty of examples in the world of older people who continue on with their work, or change to new careers, and live healthy, productive, satisfying lives. Research in Manchester in the UK suggests that in 40 years, the number of people with dementia in Australia will treble,
yet we don’t really know either the cause or cure for this frightening, and expensive, disease. I suspect that filling in time until death, as so many do, is not a healthy way to age. Those who continue to contribute to society seem tobe much better off.