Combat the Barriers to Confident Ageing

an older man with a backpack hiking up a hill

Everyone has the right to age confidently without the fear of losing a sense of self or the autonomy to make lifestyle and wellbeing choices reflecting your individual needs and wants.

Ageing is just another way of saying growing and learning. We grow and learn from the day we are born and will continue to do so every minute of every day for the rest of our lives.

Living a long and fruitful life should be seen as one of our greatest achievements. Another milestone to experience, learn from and then impart what we learn to benefit the other generations. Sadly, globally and nationally, ageing is falsely perceived as something to fear, and aged people as lesser in value and less deserving than younger people.

It is this cultural perception of ageing that depletes our confidence, generates loneliness, and isolates us from our communities.  It affects our ability to ask for help and support  for fear of judgement or loss of autonomy.

Our Aim is to Combat the negative effects to our health and wellbeing associated with ageism and the stereotyping of our ageing population. 

What are the Barriers to Confident Ageing

  1. Seeing Older People as all the Same
older man with several signs describing ageism attached to his body.

Ageism refers to stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination based on age. In essence, it is how we think, how we feel and how we act towards others. When directed at older people, it comes from negative attitudes and beliefs about what it means to grow old. (Older Person Advocacy Network)

Disturbingly, research finds that ageism is the most accepted form of prejudice in Australia.

Making age-based assumptions about people can affect the medical treatment they receive, employment opportunities and prejudices the way society views them and their legal rights.

Confidence to age well requires a person to feel they are heard and acknowledged as individuals with individual needs and wants regarding their health and well-being.

There is no typical old person

Older people are not a collective group but a diverse group. But it is hard to remember this when they are grouped together (pensioners, seniors, frail aged etc.).

Older people in Australia and within our community:

  • Come from a diverse range of cultures and social demographics.
  • Have a diverse range of ages, most commonly starting at 60 years and expanding over four decades.
  • Experience different levels of health and well-being, regardless of age.
  • Are all individuals that require different wants and needs to experience wellbeing and good health.

However, diversity is not commonly recognised in many health and support programs, which reflect a one size fits all approach.

That is why Charlie’s Gift support programs are based on person focused and non-prescriptive framework, because we know each one of you is unique and different.

Current research confirms that ageism, stereotyping and false assumptions have serious and wide-ranging consequences for older people. Negative consequences such as

      • perceived loss of value
      • poorer physical and mental health
      • increased risk of loneliness and social isolation
      • greater financial insecurity,
      • decreased quality of life
      • premature death.

2. Loneliness and feeling disconnected from Community.

Human beings at any age are social creatures. It is the connection to others which enables us to survive and thrive.

Social connection, together with participation in meaningful activities and leisure pursuits, gives us purpose, self-value and strength­ens our resilience to accept and adapt to change

Loneliness and social isolation can occur at any time for many reasons, including loss of personal relationships and connections

  • loss of meaningful roles and productivity
  • a perceived loss of value and worthiness within the community
  • loss of health and ability to do what once felt meaningful.

The difference between Loneliness and Being Alone

It is important to note that loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact.

Alone and lonely sound similar, but have very different meanings.  You can be on your own and perfectly content. Alternatively, you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely

Some people are alone because they have lost social contacts. Other may feel alone because they no longer feel safe and emotionally connected to the people around them.

We have all heard the saying “Lonely in a Crowded Room”

To NOT FEEL lonely or disconnected takes more than the presence of others. It requires us to feel we belong and are valued by the people we engage with. 

Loneliness and Social Isolation Harms

Combatting loneliness and social isolation is essential because research shows that it significantly effects our health and wellbeing.  Loneliness and social isolations is associated with the onset of:

      • Depression
      • Anxiety
      • Falls and injury
      • Cognitive decline
      • High blood pressure
      • Obesity
      • Weakened immune system
      • Alzheimer’s Disease
      • General life dissatisfaction
      • Suicide
      • Death.

Providing opportunities to engage and socially connect is essential for your wellbeing and confidence to age well and a primary Purpose of Charlie’s Gift.

3. An inability to access timely and relevant information for personal choice and decision making.   

To feel empowered – is to have the knowledge, confidence, means, or ability to do things or make informed decisions for oneself. We have all heard the phrase “knowledge is power”, but too much knowledge/or information is just more confusing.

In today’s digital world, it is not difficult to source information.  What is often tricky is sourcing credible and relevant information without wasting time and getting lost in a rabbit hole of content.

To search for information, you also need to know what you are looking for.  Sometimes we don’t know what is available, how it will personally benefit us, or who provides it.

There is too much information spread across all digital platforms, or you don’t know where to go or who the best services/businesses/organisations are to seek information.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by not knowing who to trust or where to start? Or thought that the information available does not reflect you or your needs?

You are not alone.

One of our Primary Objectives is to support you in finding the information  you need or want at the time you want or need it.