Positive Ageing Roundtable

Positive Ageing Roundtable 

NARI has established a Positive Ageing Roundtable made up of key researchers and policy thinkers working in the ageing area. Our Ambassadors Dr Patricia Edgar and Dr Don Edgar hosted the first meeting, the theme of which was ‘Changing the Ageing Conversation’. 

The Positive Ageing Roundtable aims to carry the conversation forward and turn the attention of policy makers and service providers towards the many positive contributions older people make to the economy and the quality of community life, as a counter to the prevailing negative portrayal of our ageing population as a looming crisis.

The participants were Adjunct Associate Professor Katharine Betts (Swinburne University of Technology(, Tony Coles (Australian Association of Gerontology), Aimee Defries (RSL Care), Janey Dolan (South Australia Health), Nicholas Gruen (Lateral Economics), Kerry Jones (The Australian Centre for Social Innovation), Dr Helen Kimberley (Brotherhood of St Laurence), Emily Millane (Per Capita Principal), Gideon Perrott (State Trustees), Professor David Ames, Professor Stephen Gibson, Associate Professor Briony Dow and Debra O’Connor (NARI). 

The Positive Ageing Roundtable noted that:

  • the majority of older people want to, and do live independently in their own homes;
  • just 7 per cent are in aged care accommodation, yet the latter group dominates policy discussion.
  • residential facilities are gradually being transformed into inter-generational communities.
  • with increasing longevity and better health, the majority of Australians will live beyond 80 and have only a few years of possible decline.
  • older people contribute billions of dollars to the national economy through their voluntary work, care of the old and disabled and to their own families via inter-generational transfers;
  • grandparents provide 80 per cent of child care; 
  • rising health costs are explained more by increased population generally, advanced and more costly medical technology, pharmaceutical costs and by futile end of life interventions, than they are by ‘ageing’ as such. 

NARI’s new Positive Ageing Roundtable will continue to build links across a national coalition of those working towards a less gloomy, more proactive and inclusive approach to Australia’s growing older demographic.

A full report of the first meeting can be found here.

Anyone who wishes can join by contacting NARI’s Deputy Director Debra O’Connor