Unique ageing project

A creative multi-media, evidence-based resource produced by La Trobe University aims to change community perceptions of ageing and in doing so, inform a positive ageing agenda with a focus on person-centred services.

Initiated by Healthdirect Australia and led by La Trobe's Associate Professor Kath Ryan, this two-year study involved researchers filming older Australians speaking about their experiences of ageing.

La Trobe researcher, Dr Kayli Wild said film is a powerful medium to improve understanding for the community, health professionals and policy makers of issues unique to old people.

'Many of those who shared their stories spoke about gaining increased wisdom, confidence, tolerance and self-expression. They also talked about what is important for ageing well. We hope this research contributes  to a broader understanding of what it is actually like to grow old and prompts positive changes in the way the ageing sector operates' Dr. Wild said.

'What older men and women across the country told us was often at odds with what many associate with ageing – It's not all about illness, decline, doom and gloom. 

Researchers interviewed and filmed 56 people. Clear themes of not wanting to be a burden on family or society and wanting to continue to contribute, featured in many of the interviews.

The Experiences of Ageing study and films can be found on the new website

Healthdirect Australia's General Manager of Clinical Governance, Maureen Robinson, said the organisation was proud to commission the study.

'This research fills an important gap in our knowledge on the lived experience of ageing. Healthtalkonline provides a valuable resource for the ageing population, their families, friends and health professionals involved in their care.'

The ageing study is the first of the site's projects to include interviews with Indigenous Australians in their first language.         

Media Catherine Garrett: 9479 6565  / 0418 964 325

Image credit:Horia Varlan viaflickr/Creative Commons