Do you fear growing older?

Celebrating ageing is very important in an era where media influences are creating a negative perception of aged care and ageing in Australia, but what are your thoughts?

While a fear of growing older is not a recent phenomenon – the idea of a Fountain of Youth has been around for centuries – what is of concern today, however, is how early these anxieties about ageing begin.

Leading aged care provider Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley says stereotypes surrounding seniors overlook the important fact that living longer is a major achievement.

“We’re living longer, healthier lives than any previous generation but some people’s fears about ageing are real.”  “Our seniors have achieved so much, are still achieving and still have so much to offer and it is vital to celebrate and recognise this, she said.”

As part of its celebrating ageing mandate, Feros Care recently released a survey asking the question, What Are Your Fears About Growing Older?

It is hoped the survey will help the company gauge the kind of beliefs people hold about older people that can lead to discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.

Ms Buckley said the organisation was committed to breaking down stereotypes connected with seniors and aged care.

“Feros Care is focused on raising the profile of our senior Australians,” she said.  “This general survey is our first step in better understanding what people feel about growing old.” 

Ms Buckley said fostering acceptance of growing older was key.

“Exposure to stereotypes that dehumanise seniors is dangerous. Exploring how our outlook on ageing is determined, we can discover how ageing can be an actively enriching time of immense growth.”

Ms Buckley says by fostering acceptance of ageing we can all learn that growing older is merely an inevitable part of the human condition. “Ageing isn’t something that happens to us in the second half of our life; it’s a lifelong process and ought to be embraced,” she said.

In June 2013, Aged and Community Services Australia reported results from the Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan AO, providing evidence of negative stereotypes about ageing reinforced in the workplace and media.

“This research quantifies some of the stereotypical beliefs people hold about older people that lead to discriminatory attitudes and behaviours,” Commissioner Ryan said.

“These attitudes and behaviours act as barriers, preventing many older people from reaching their full potential in workplaces and in the community.”

One of the conclusions of the report was how media influences negative perceptions of older Australians.

The report highlighted the prevalence of negative stereotypes in portrayals of older people in media and advertising in Australia, as well as the under-representation of older people in the media.

Ms Buckley said Feros Care was committed to building a positive image and environment for seniors and aged care.

“Our focus is on building the image of both seniors and ageing with a mission to support seniors to live their best life,” she said.

This is based on the Feros Care belief when we hit 80 years, there is significant scope to set new life goals and continue to learn, create, contribute, achieve, love and live life to the fullest.

“We see it as our mission to provide our clients with this opportunity and to engage the community in breaking down the traditional stereotype of older people.”

Other Feros Care strategies to improve the image of ageing through community awareness include a Get Bold Not Old campaign and the introduction of Feros Heroes, an initiative providing an opportunity to showcase active seniors living life to the fullest.

“Just as important as branding and community awareness initiatives, Feros Care is living its mission through a service philosophy which underpins our Celebrating Ageing mandate,” Ms Buckley said.

“Through our Byron Model of care, health and wellness teams and allied health programs we are giving seniors every opportunity to lead healthy, independent lives so they may remain connected to family, friends and the community for as long as possible.”

Feros Care’s short What Are Your Fears About Growing Older? survey takes less than five minutes to complete and will run for the month of October.

Those who participate will be in the running for the chance to win a $1500 Webjet travel voucher.

You can find the survey on the Feros Care Facebook page and the Feros Care website.