The work of ageing

Social Issues Executive

[W]hen we are old it is too late to learn how to grow old. We must be taught how to live well when we are young if we are to know how to live well when we are old. (In fact, one of the great problems of our time is the assumption that we can and should live as if we will never grow old.) This will require the church to find ways to avoid isolating the young, the not so young and the elderly from one another. (Stanley Hauerwas, In Good Company, p. 185)

Australia is ageing. There are more older Australian now than ever before, and their numbers are rising. Does this prospect excite you, or worry you?

It seems to worry our government. An ageing populace creates many implications for public policy, and the purpose of this briefing is to touch upon some of these, particularly in relation to work. We will look at the work of those in aged care, and the work options (or not) for those who age.
But "Australia is ageing' can become a statement open to new and intriguing possibilities. The Christian church knows something of these, as suggested by U.S. theologian Stanley Hauerwas (above). Each italicised section outlines some statistics and government responses, and we will then observe something that Christians know to be true about the aged. In this way, we will have a small "thought experiment' about how ageing Australia could have some hidden bonuses.

This is only the introduction to a more detailed article. Click here to download Social Issues briefing 81 - The work of ageing in pdf format.