COTA welcomes Council of Elders announcement on the International Day of Older Persons and Ageism Awareness Day

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, Australia’s peak advocacy body for older Australians,  has welcomed the establishment of the Council of Elders, which will  consult and advise the Federal Government on aged care reform, signaling an important commitment to giving older Australians a genuine voice in decisions about aged care.

The government’s announcement coincides with the International Day of Older Persons and the inaugural Ageism Awareness Day, a new initiative of the Every Age Counts campaign of which COTA is a leading member.

“COTA has always fought for older Australians to be at the centre of decision-making in aged care, and I’m pleased that the Morrison Government is implementing this key recommendation of the Aged Care Royal Commission,” says Ian Yates AM, Chief Executive of COTA Australia.

“The Council of Elders will formalize older Australians’ voices in aged care reform. Policymakers must be guided by the voices of lived experience. You can’t fix aged care without people in the room who have received it, and who know exactly what’s working and what isn’t.”

The Council of Elders will consult with older Australians from across the nation on aged care and related issues. It will report to the Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, as well as advising the National Aged Care Advisory Council and the Department.

“This is a very appropriate announcement to mark Australia’s first Ageism Awareness Day. As a leading member of the Every AGE Counts campaign COTA is proud of this new initiative to shine a light on the insidious discrimination that older Australians face,” says Mr Yates.

“This year’s theme is ‘Ageism. Know it. Name it.’ Ageism is so common that often people don’t recognise it. Ageism is the hiring manager who thinks you’re too old for that job, the doctor who bases their treatment on your age not your condition. And sometimes it’s even your own family, making decisions about your life without consulting you.

“It takes a long time to change behaviour and create a real cultural shift, but what’s exactly what Ageism Awareness Day aims to do. Year by year, we will build an Australia where age discrimination is no longer seen and never tolerated.”

Older Australians who wish to share their knowledge and experience with aged care are encouraged to nominate for the Council of Elders by Friday 15 October. Full details can be found at Aged Care Council of Elders | Australian Government Department of Health

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439; Hannah Craft 0423 377 965

Download the Ageism Awareness Day pamphlet, ‘Practical Tips to Respond to Ageism’ here