Age against the machine

The federal government released its Intergenerational Report last week which revealed Australia’s elderly population is set to grow while overall population growth declines.

The report sheds a light on the challenges of Australia’s ageing population, emphasising the need for communities to provide senior’s avenues to share their knowledge, fitness and skills.

Rotary International communications specialist Michelle Gallace recognises the importance of recognising what seniors can contribute to society.

Ms Gallace says providing seniors with opportunities to enrich communities in various ways is crucial.

“It is important we provide seniors opportunities to contribute positively to society outside the realm of paid work,” she says.

One avenue gaining a following among senior citizens is ballroom dancing.

Perth Ballroom Dancing owner Leigh Campbell champions this activity and says it’s a valuable place for seniors to maintain physical fitness and mental agility.

Over 50’s ballroom dance class. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Campbell says there’s a chance for seniors to find not only friends, but a soulmate.

“I kid you not because it has happened,” he says.

Mr Campbell says ballroom dancing has become increasingly popular amongst seniors due to the health benefits which includes enhancing coordination, endurance, strength and balance.

“Ballroom dancing is popular again, turn off the TV and get out with us and meet real people,” he says.

Seniors Anne Ward and Audrey Arnold say they prefer other ways to remaining sociable and fit.

Mrs Ward attends yoga and gym classes several times a week to ensure she staying active.

Anne Ward reflecting on what she does to stay active. Photo: Lainey Smith

“It’s all about finding things that work for you to stay physically and mentally well,” she says.

Mrs Ward says her parents both live in aged care facilities, which has given her the push to take care of her health and remain independent.

Mrs Arnold is a member of three different walking groups.

“It’s good for not only my physical health, but mental too,” she says.

At 93 years old, Mrs Arnold says she is inspired to remain active due to her father.

Audrey Arnold reflecting on why she thinks it’s important to keep walking. Video: Lainey Smith.

Motion by the Ocean is a not-for-profit organisation aiming to provide a space for seniors to bond.

It uses charitable donations to create trishaws, encouraging volunteers to wheel seniors around the coastal areas.

Motion by the Ocean CEO and founder Alanagh Godderidge says she spends much of her time around beaches in Perth.

Mrs Godderidge says her work as a carer lead her to realise how some communal spaces can be inaccessible for some elderly folk.

“Knowing that not all people have meaningful access to this shared space stayed at the back of my mind,” she says.

Mrs Godderidge says these rides help seniors keep their collective memories alive, as many seniors felt their voices were not often heard.

“I refer to the trishaws as conversation couches, these rides often assist our passengers relive memories of yesteryear,” she says.

Mrs Arnold says she looks forward to a sweet treat during her walking group dates.

Audrey Arnold explaining the further benefits of joining a community group. Video: Lainey Smith

Categories: General