Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2012 Contents TO MANY, SPRING symbolises new life, a break from the winter
chill and a lively move towards warmer, brighter days. To the
AAA team and many in the aged care sector however, it means
Spring 2011 was certainly an eventful time, featuring the sector's
two national peak body conferences; the National Dementia
Research Forum in Sydney; Australia's Ageing Population Summit
in Melbourne; the Community Services and Health Industry Skills
Council conference in Brisbane; and the 2011 Arts and Health
International Conference in Canberra. And that's only a summary of
the events attended.
The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, made the
most of the season by appearing in person at many a conference,
impressing audiences with jokes and ageing anecdotes, not to
mention words of encouragement for all patiently waiting on the
federal government to respond to the Productivity Commission's (PC)
Caring for Older Australians inquiry.
Fronting the Ninth Asia/Oceania Regional Congress of
Gerontology and Geriatrics, Melbourne, in late October, Minister
Butler stressed the importance of good quality palliative care services
and said older people can only live well if they are enabled to die well.
The Minister also reminded the international audience that
longevity is a privilege, and spoke highly of the rich social and
economic contribution that older people make to society.
Yet the most impressive element of Gerontology & Geriatrics
2011, hosted by the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) in
partnership with the New Zealand Association of Gerontology, was
the incredible range of topics covered in the program.
With more than 400 papers presented -- spanning issues of
social justice to falls prevention, population ageing and migration to
dementia, oxidative stress and diabetes to molecular science -- the
diverse presentation line-up drew a varied crowd of researchers,
practitioners, service providers, policy and planning representatives,
educators and even students
The assortment of people and subjects really enforced a
realisation that the Asia/Oceania region is incredibly diverse. And
even though attendees from various member countries were there to
investigate and present ageing solutions related to their own cultures
and communities, their attendance at the congress highlighted
shared goals -- to overcome the challenges and push the boundaries
associated with the ageing population, to improve the quality of life for
all and to embrace longevity.
BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY,
LAUGHTER THE NEXT
Less than a week after the regional congress, Aged Care Association
Australia (ACAA) held its national event, the ACAA 30th Annual
Congress, on the Gold Coast.
The bright Queensland sun lit the scene for an energetic congress,
which opened with a lively panel discussion on end-of-life care.
Featuring the controversial euthanasia advocate, Dr Phillip Nitschke
(also referred to as the Australian Dr Death), the panel discussed
what should constitute quality end-of-life care and whether or not the
legal definition should be extended to include a euthanasia option.
The straight-talking Dr Nitschke promoted the case for legalising
assisted death in Australia, while the other four panellists stressed
that good end-of-life care negates the need for euthanasia. Councillor
at ReConnections Counselling Services, Dr Monica Wilson spoke of
the end-of-life journey which she believed should not be hastened by
one's own hand.
The next morning the New York doctor, Jay Parkinson, wowed
the audience with a nonchalant presentation on putting revolutionary
ideas into practice. Drawing on his own story of making Hello Health
-- a cross between a community medical practice and Facebook -- a
success, he inspired attendees to embrace innovation and think
outside the square.
Laughter also featured prominently throughout the ACAA
congress, its value in aged care demonstrated by a humorous
presentation from comedian Anthony Ackroyd and a screening of The
Smile Within documentary on humour therapy.
And who could forget the congress dinner and its colourful
magical mystery tour-theme?
A small army of Sergeant Peppers and a bedazzling array of 60s
Spring 2011 in review
The spring season was jam
packed full of interesting and
inspiring conferences that
of ageing and forged the
path ahead for 2012. And, as
Yasmin Noone reports,
AAA was there, on the scene
for most of the action.
Dr Jay Parkinson. Image: Richard
A rare quiet moment for Gerontology conference officials
The 60s theme was widely embraced at the ACAA conference dinner
60 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2012 | AAA
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