Ambassodor vows to reverse ageing stereotypes

By Rob O'Brien
The Ambassador for Ageing and renowned actor Noeline Brown has launched a robust defence of Australia’s ageing population in a speech to an international conference last week.

At the inaugural International Arts and Health Conference in Port Macquarie the Ambassador, who was appointed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, said that she viewed her role as reversing the negative stereotypes around ageing presented by the media.

“One of my tasks I feel as Ambassador for Ageing is to dispel the myths and reverse the stereotypes that surround older people,” Mrs Brown said.

“They come up so often: the ageing population is a looming crisis; the more older people there are the greater burden they are on society; older people don’t understand new technologies; older people are isolated and lonely.”

Mrs Brown said that Australia’s older people saved the government about $75 billion in voluntary work and suggested that they had been unfairly represented in debates on population growth.

“The reality is much better, older people enhance Australian society, never before have we had such interesting people with so much wisdom to pass on.
“They lead very active lives and increasingly they are choosing to work longer, whether full time or part time.

"In smaller communities the real glue that holds everything together is the older people. We should be congratulating them every day, not just on Australia Day.”

A delegation organised through Arts and Health NSW will be presenting 16 policy recommendations from The Art of Good Health and Wellbeing Conference to the health minister Nicola Roxon in Canberra today.
Senior research fellow in arts and health for the Centre for Humanity Studies at Durham University, Mike White, said that there was enormous activity around the health benefits of the arts.

“What we’re seeing in the last 10 years is an absolute explosion of activity [in the sector] where the arts has now extended into primary healthcare facilities, palliative and respite care, retirement homes, and public health and health promotion in the community at large.”

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