What our students are saying

Master of Ageing students talk about their experiences in the course

Emma Maharaj, Occupational Therapy and the Master of Ageing

I have worked for 20 years as an Occupational Therapist in the public health system both in Australia and in the UK and more recently as a private practitioner, running my own business, Easy Living Occupational Therapy. I routinely work with older adults and am focused on how to improve their health and wellbeing, maximising safety and independence. I have always enjoyed spending time with older adults, perhaps as a result of a very positive relationship with my own grandparents and when I was searching for suitable post graduate courses, the Master of Ageing Course from The University of Melbourne, was a clear winner.

The Master of Ageing is a unique course in that it provides expert, evidence-based theories/learnings from diverse disciplines that all combine to help students think creatively about the opportunities and challenges that ageing brings. I am in my eighth subject now, Shifting Paradigms in Ageing, which has helped me to appreciate how perspectives on ageing are changing and what shapes identity in old age. The four core subjects provide an excellent grounding in ageing issues – Ageing in Society, Economics of Ageing, Body of Ageing and the Ethics of Ageing. Then students are able to select from a wide range of electives that appeal to them. I have completed Ageing Health and Humans Services, Leadership for an Ageing Workforce, Technology and Ageing and my current subject, Shifting Paradigms of Ageing.

The course has helped me to think deeply and critically about some of the major issues associated with ageing and it has increased my confidence not only in academic writing and presenting but also in my ability to lead and influence others. As the course is 100% online, I have been able to juggle my work, study and family commitments as there is flexibility when I study. I have found the teaching to be of an excellent quality and any concerns I had about the online platform were quickly dismissed. If anything, studying online is easier, as you have access to all the resources you need, and tutors are accessible. I have also made friends with my peers and regularly meet up with them to provide support to each other (wine and cheese may also be part of the process!) It has been great to study alongside some highly skilled people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures and this a real strength of this course.

The course has been directly relevant to my professional career, as I have used the learnings from all subjects to reflect on my own practices and implement changes in thinking and actions. As an example, a journal article in my current subject highlighted the importance of handbags for women with dementia. They are a symbol of identity, and they provide meaning and security and this has directly influenced my work with older women in aged care facilities, as I recognise the value of objects as shaping their narratives and the use of handbags as a memory box tool. The course also provides valuable insights into how to age well on a personal level and this in itself is very useful. I have increased awareness of the benefits of adopting a life course and an intergenerational approach to ageing. Everyone wants to live a long life, but nobody wants to grow old!

[Source: Emma Maharaj, Occupational Therapist, Director of Easy Living Occupational Therapy & Master of Ageing student at the University of Melbourne]