This 3 minutes of pure joy was filmed at our Embolden Festival in 2019. The film is a celebration of the diversity of older Australians. We are sharing it with you to mark Harmony Day, 21st March - a time of reflection on respect for cultural and religious diversity. This year so many people have also reflected on the history of harmony day, in short, an Australian rebadging of the United National International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We know that older people still experience racial discrimination and we love that more and more Australians are saying that's not okay. We join the chorus of people saying no to racial discrimination and in our work we are committed to ensuring that the wonderful diversity of older Australians shines.
I used to find it difficult to celebrate women’s achievements and contributions on IWD … because the gender inequalities are shocking. I listen to the news about women being sexually assaulted and murdered and expect to hear that people are rioting in the streets. But there are no riots, mostly there are breakfasts and workplace events. That’s a good start - but we need to do more.
I can’t sit still in a world where a women is murdered every week by her current or former partner (in Australia). In a world where 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence, 1 in 5 sexual violence and 1 in 2 sexual harassment; in a world where there is a 33% increase in older women’s homelessness and 34% of single older women live in poverty… and yet ... still we mock older women 😳 devalue and mimic their vulnerabilities. We have such a long way to go before we reach equality for older women.
This year our #OlderWomenCount campaign grew in strength. We made a beautiful film with Dr Deborah Wood and it resonated with people. The 4 min film has has 1.4k views in 6 days and Deborahs message of 'joyful rage' is so powerful. We also launched our #OlderWomenCount checklist, which includes reflections for older women, families, communities, groups, businesses and services (celebrateageing.com/olderwomencount). So grateful to Older Women's Network NSW and Suzanne Phoenix, Photos Punctuate My Life for the partnership - and also our 2023 partners Elder Rights Advocacy Victoria ... what you do matters.
Today I invite everyone to think about in inequities older women experience. And to think about how you let the older women in your family, community, work place know that they are valued. Please reach out to an older woman today and let her know you see her and you care.
We lost our beautiful Philippa Campbell on Friday night at 5.52pm. Philippa's death leaves a big hole in the revolution and a big hole in my heart. She was my colleague and my mate. I loved her very much and admired her even more than that. Philippa was passionate about older people, she set the benchmark high and was unwavering in her determination to build respect for older people. She was also a straight shooter who called it like it was. She would often say: we have to do better than this.... and she was right, we do need to do better. That's what I loved about her - she saw inequality and she called it. She saw ageism and she called it. She saw a service gap and she called it. That was her gift to us - to hold up a mirror and ask us to do better.
Philippa worked in older person's advocacy for the last decade or so, and until late last year she was the CEO of Elder Rights Advocacy in Victoria. The photo above shows Philippa (second from right) and her colleague Cassie at the launch of our Kinfolk project to support older TGD people. Philippa's legacy will continue at Elder Right's Advocacy with CEO Debra Nicholl sharing Philippa's passion for respect and the empowerment of older people. Philippa's legacy will also continue with us at Celebrate Ageing - we have plans to honour her ethos and will announce those soon. Vale Philippa.
Dr Catherine Barrett, Director of Celebrate Ageing
Not everyone is a fan of Valentine's Day - but I love it for a very special reason. On this day six years ago we hosted a symposium on dementia and love and at it we reclaimed Valentine's Day as a special day in the lives of people living with dementia. We challenged the narrow definitions of romanticised love and the belief that only young and able bodied people are capable of love. Love matters to us all; and it matters greatly to people living with dementia who battle dehumanisation, stigma and discrimination on a daily basis.
So we reclaim Valentine's Day; not the fairy floss bits, we want the bits where we celebrate human connection and relationships and love skills. The bits where we recognise people living with dementia as fully human. The bits where we see beyond brain pathology. So, to all our readers living with dementia and to your family and friends - we hope you do something to celebrate the love in your life today. And for those of you not sure what something special today might be, we invite you to visit the Museum of Love to view our online collections celebrating the importance of love in the lives of people living with dementia.
Make sure you check out #TheKiss exhibition, portraits of people living with dementia kissing someone they love. Perhaps you can share a portrait with us. Photo above Glenys Petrie and John Quinn by Lisa White, the Social Photographer.
There was a story in the media this week that bought me back to the blog. Prof Bobby Duffy published the results of a study called Who Cares About Climate Change. The results are not a surprise for those who aren't ageist and provide invaluable reflection for those who are. Duffy's study of 2000+ people in the UK found that older people care as much about the environment as young folk (check link below for results). This matters for a number of reasons. Firstly, because we need all hands on deck in the fight against climate change. Secondly, because it exposes a harmful myth that permeates some very important debates (climate change, COVID, racism, LGBTIphobia, sexism, home ownership etc) in ways that distract us from creating change. While we are blaming older people (or young) we are taking our eyes off the real causes and solutions. Ageist debate is lazy - and harmful. It's time for change.
Today we launched the second story from our project #WalkWithHer. The project documents the responses to older women (and their family members) who report sexual assault. It aims to show service providers and Government the gaps in the system - we are not yet listening. Read Margarita's story here and go to the project webpage here.
Beautiful photo - beautiful story: Jill, Christine, Irena, Teresa went to lunch and were laughing hysterically. They were approached by a 91 year old man who said how much he enjoyed listening to their laughter and how important it was to have fun. They thanked him and he left. Shortly afterward Jill felt someone playing with her hair. She swung around to find the same man placing a Tiara on her head. He'd left, gone shopping, bought the Tiara and come back to present it to Jill. Jill sent me this pic and story because she wants me to tell everyone how important it is for elders to have fun. Thanks Teresa for the beautiful photo.
So pleased to announce the launch of The Museum of Love - a new Celebrate Ageing project focusing on the importance of love in the lives of people with dementia. The Museum includes The Kiss and The Mirror, photographic exhibitions by Lisa White, The Social Photographer as well as a number of other art and story based projects. The Museum is self-funded.
Thanks to everyone that suggested a blog. The Celebrate Ageing Facebook account has become a great source of communication - but I hadn't factored in how many of you don't use Facebook. The blog will keep you updated on the activities of Celebrate Ageing - we would also welcome any suggestions for blog posts. Thanks Catherine
Dr Catherine Barrett is the Director and Founder of Celebrate Ageing, a social enterprise challenging ageism and building respect for older people.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
(c) 2013 celebrateageing.com
(c) 2013 celebrateageing.com