There’s a lot of media about older people currently. What does OLD mean? There are various definitions around. According to Google “having lived for a long time; no longer young”. For a long time, there seems to have been an issue with older people. Many of us in our senior years note how we are often ignored when out and about. The old courtesies of treating seniors with respect appear to be gone. Older people are often ignored in shops. Often they are not offered seats in public transport as all the younger folk seem to “hide” as they are glued to their mobile phone.
Aged Care Royal Commission
Australians are well aware of the poor care our senior or disabled residents have had to endure. This has been going on for years. I can recall in my nursing days when older and unwell people were in hospital beds – Australia did not have many aged care facilities and the ones we did have were appalling. In many ways things have been getting better, but there have been many issues of poor treatment of our elderly.
Invisible Seniors in Australia
One of the things I comment on is that we seldom see seniors out and about. We do see them in numbers at shopping centres or scooting around the suburbs, usually alone, on their motorised scooters.
In China, older folk are seen in many places in the public arena. Almost every morning in China, you will see groups of senior citizens out and about in public. They might be doing Tai Chi or Qigong, banging on trees, walking backwards, or dancing.
It happens in many parks. And it is not just in the mornings. During the day there might be a group of musicians or singers practising or performing in a park, or doing ballroom dancing.
In other parts, under shelter, there might be a group playing Mahjong, or other games.
We Could Do This In Australia!
There are plenty of outdoor parks, open for all. Children, adults, seniors are all welcome but are they all suitable for older people.
My mother, who passed away in 2014, loved a park right next door to Pattriti Winery, in Dover Gardens in South Australia. It was a relatively small park. There was a circular rubberised walking track with seating dotted around it. As a result, it meant that anyone could walk for a few minutes, then take a rest, before heading off again. People of all ages used the park, and they would stop and chat at these seats. While kilometre/s long walking paths are great for most ages, an elderly person can more easily manage a circular walkway. The fact that it was a rubberised walkway made it safer. There was also a covered seating area, and my mother used to stop and chat with others – older or younger. Everyone enjoyed the facility.
Mum had to be driven there – by a family member usually. Dad would sometimes walk with her, but other times, due to his failing health he’d sit in the car and watch her walk. She actually enjoyed her solo walk as she felt free to chat with other people. If Day went with her, he’d often take over the conversation!
Dad would often stop at Pattriti’s on the way home and make a purchase.
My wish is that councils explore ways of helping older people get out and about in our communities rather than accept that they should be hidden.
What do you think?