Welcome to Issue 4

Welcome to Issue 4 of the Ageing Industry Network Newsletter

Old men reading

It seems as if this year has slipped away so quickly - or perhaps my perception of time is speeding up. I’ve noticed that everything I’ve picked up to read recently has ageing related content. I’m not sure if I just haven’t noticed it in the past or whether I’m now gravitating towards books about the ageing experience. JM Coetzee’s ‘Slow Man’ is the story of a rather unsociable 60 year-old man who loses a leg when a car runs into him on his pushbike. The book beautifully documents how he negotiates and comes to terms with his loss of independence, changed circumstances and some unexpected houseguests. “Think of Don Quixote. Don Quixote is not about a man sitting in a rocking chair bemoaning the dullness of La Mancha. It is about a man who claps a basin on his head and clambers onto the back of his faithful old plough-horse and sallies forth to do great deeds.”

Being Mortal’ is a very easy to read and engaging combination of personal story, history and medical information situated both locally and globally. Written by surgeon Atul Gawande, it explores the personal and emotional stories of how patients and families deal with ageing, decline and end of life. Integral to these stories are the history and evolving attitudes, systems and approaches of medicine, hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes towards ageing and older people.

Helen Garner also has her say about ageing and ageism in ‘The Insults of Age’ - an essay in her recently published collection ‘Everywhere I Look’. She ends her accurate (in my opinion), humourous and incisive essay with this warning: “I take his point. But my warning stands. Let blood technicians look me in the eye and wish me good morning before they sink a needle into my arm. Let no schoolchild in a gallery stroll between me and the painting I’m gazing at as if I were only air. And let no one, ever again, under any circumstances, put to me or any other woman the moronic question, ‘And how was your shopping?’”

In this issue, we have a selection of links to inspiring articles, resources and videos, followed by a personal commentary called ‘Kicking the ageist habit’ from former psychologist Peter Quarry. Read what some of our students say about Master of Ageing subjects and meet Laura, a new virtual type 2 diabetes personal coach, part of a world first trial. Books seem to be the theme of the issue with two new book releases - the first is a fascinating collection of essays on aspects of old age and the second addresses age discrimination in the workplace. Read about Val’s CafĂ©, a project that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older LGBTI people by fostering an understanding about their lives amongst the staff of service providers.

We’ve included a brief outline about the very useful Dementia Evidence Toolkit. Austrade is launching the Australia-Japan Aged Care & Well-being Mission in November to provide Australian organisations with the opportunity to: promote their capabilities; gain a better understanding of market trends, and facilitate bilateral engagements to support future collaborations and commercial opportunities. The Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre at the University of Melbourne has launched its online survey into wearable technologies for health monitoring by independent living seniors, so if you are 55+ years and use a wearable to monitor your health and fitness, you are invited to take the online survey. The University of Melbourne’s Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces is seeking participants for an interesting study into online games for those over 65 years old. Benetas launched a free photography exhibition about older ‘Unexpected Heroes’ in Melbourne. And lastly, we have the updated list of conferences on or related to ageing.

The next Master of Ageing subjects that start this week are:

Subjects open for enrolment in January (Term 1) next year are:

Enjoy the read and if you have any content for the next issue, please send it to Ruth Williams who will be editing the next issue: ruth.williams@unimelb.edu.au

[Source: Lena Gan, Co-Director Ageing Programs, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne]