A report released today by the Australian Human Rights Commission which shows the effectiveness of education in shifting ageist attitudes provides real hope that moving the needle on Australia’s ageist attitudes is possible.
The report, Changing perspectives: testing an ageism intervention (2023), looked at the effectiveness of a brief one-off educational intervention in reducing ageist attitudes among workers in aged care and community settings.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Sparrow, said that while the evidence that shifting attitudes among key segments of workers is possible is exciting, the research also provides real hope that it’s possible to shift ageist attitudes more broadly too.
“Governments and businesses should be looking at this research and investigating how similar methods might be able to be used to address ageist attitudes in other areas too,” Ms Sparrow said.
“Ageism is rife in Australia. We see it in all walks of life, whether it’s in the workplace, in aged care, in medical settings, or in the community broadly.
“Ageism affects us all. It hurts everyone and stops us from providing the meaningful contribution to society that we all know we’re capable of.
“As we live longer and healthier, in order for older Australians to fully participate in the community, we need to be given the opportunities to contribute, but at the moment systemic ageism locks us out in a myriad of ways.
“This report is exciting for many reasons. The idea that simple education can help shift attitudes significantly provides real hope, not just in the workplace settings identified in the report, but more broadly.
“If we take responsibility for ageism, Australia will be more inclusive, cohesive and prosperous. This report shows that’s not just fanciful thinking – it’s really possible.”
Media contact: Tamara Kotoyan, 0430 291 890