Conversations for Change is the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria’s contribution to thought leadership about ageing in Victoria.
Each Conversation will focus on a different topic relevant to ageing and older people in our community. The initiative is a central platform in our Vision 2020,
and will help to frame our plans to continue housing and supporting older Victorians in need.
In 2006, the World Health Organisation brought together decision makers from 33 cities of varying sizes throughout the world to discover what makes a city a good place in which to grow old.
Crucially, this initiative involved older people at every stage. The conclusion was that age friendly cities and communities are places where older people live safely,
enjoy good health and stay involved. We agree. But the question remains what should an age-friendly community look like in 2050?
It is a burning issue and one that requires deep consideration. Today, Victorians are living longer and healthier lives than any other time in human history. Seven million Australians aged 50 to 75 years are facing an extended life expectancy. Some say the first person to live to 150 has already been born. A snapshot from
the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows one in 10 older Australians are employed; three in 10 older Australians volunteer their time regularly.
In Victoria, people over the age of 80 are now the fastest growing age group. As a result, significant social change is happening with five generations now living,
learning, working and socialising together. At the same time, there is growing pressure on housing, a rising incidence of dementia and chronic disease, increasing inequity, a rural-city divide, and older people are often viewed as an economic burden.
As part of our commitment to driving the ageing agenda in Victoria, we established Conversations for Change to bring together others with an interest in
shaping a future in which older people are actively engaged. A panel of distinguished thought leaders – Dr Helen Austin, Dr Owen Donald, Dr Sue Malta, and Rob
McGauran - shared their views with us, together with guests who attended the lively discussion. This publication shares some of those insights.