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Language guide launched to combat ageism


Anti-ageism advocacy campaign EveryAGE Counts has launched a new language guide aimed at ending ageism in aged care. 

The guide contains simple tools and practical advice for all people who work in aged care, from nurses to managers and administrative staff. It has been developed in collaboration with Brisbane North PHN and the healthy@home consortium, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. 

Ageism is harmful and impacts on the mental and physical health of aged care clients, but also us. Research from the World Health Organisation has stated that holding ageist attitudes can shorten our lifespan.  

The language guide follows the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendation for a new human rights-based Aged Care Act, that puts older people at the centre of the discussion. 

EveryAGE Counts advocacy campaigner Joel Pringle said the launch of the guide is vital to empower older Australians broadly, not just people receiving aged care services. 

“The way we talk and interact with older people really matters for their health and quality of life,” said Mr Pringle. 

“Despite good intentions, unfortunately many people of all ages still equate older age with negativity. 

“Being aware of our language can undermine ageism, instead of reinforcing it. 

“That’s how we can end ageism.”

Brisbane North PHN CEO Libby Dunstan said coming up to Christmas when people will be interacting with family members of all ages, it’s important to keep the message of the language guide front of mind.

“It’s easy to use ageist language unknowingly because often it is learnt behaviour. We might not realise how disempowering and patronising our words are. 

“This language guide shows how societal change can start at home as simply as changing the language we use to address each other.

“The language guide is an important resource that Brisbane North PHN and our healthy@home consortium members have worked diligently to develop with EveryAGE Counts.

“The language guide’s message is that it is kinder and better for everyone’s health to stop and think before we speak.”

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