The ACT government has published its latest strategic plan  for positive ageing. It is also moving towards becoming an age friendly city. I wish more cities would adopt this policy- details are on the World Health Organisation website. The point is that if cities become age-friendly they are better places for everyone to live in, particularly the elderly, the disabled and children. On a recent trip to Melbourne it was good to see some of the tram stops labelled on the map as having minimal gap between the pavement and the tram. This helps those in wheelchairs as well as the elderly.

Having given the ACT a pat on the back for their plan I was disappointed to see that they had adopted the elder abuse policy of two other states. It’s good not to re-invent the wheel- but not if it’s a wobbly wheel!  The policy refers to ‘Mistreatment, abuse or neglect of older people is regarded to be any behaviour within a relationship of trust that harms an older person’. This is discrimination in itself since neither sexual nor racial abuse is restricted to ‘those within a relationship of trust’. The recent bashing of an Indian taxi driver in Victoria would have been legal if it had been against an older person! Abuse by anyone on an older person should be illegal. Some young lads yelled ‘Silly old fool’ at me when I ignored them as I walked past them on my daily walk recently. I turned on them and told them they were breaking the law (which with this definition they were not) and pointed out their house address was clearly visible. I got the impression that this had scared them!

I have had a paper accepted at  the International Federation of Ageing Conference in Melbourne later this year. The conference is nearly $1000 (plus accommodation, plus travel) with no concessions. It appears that this is yet another conference on ageing which discourages the ageing from attending. Those who do attend will be younger, employed people, with their expenses paid for by their employers. Are the organisers really so stupid that they don’t realise that conferences on ageing would be much improved if they actually had some older people there? Why are they allowed to adopt the title of ‘ageing’ if they don’t include the ageing?