Younger hand on older hand

Ageing is a normal biological, social and emotional process. Psychologists have an important role in understanding and promoting the psychological aspects of healthy ageing. Issues range from the mental health of older Australians and the quality of aged care services, to broader perspectives on life transitions such as retirement and widowhood. Psychologists are challenged to prepare for the needs of an ageing population in ways that empower older adults.

Key points

  • Australia has an ageing population – by 2050, 22.7 per cent of the Australian population will be aged 65 years and over, compared to 13.5 per cent in 2010.
  • Ageing is a normal biological, social and emotional process.
  • Ageing is often experienced as a positive process, contrary to prevailing and inaccurate negative stereotypes about older people.
  • These stereotypes have contributed to a view of the ageing boom as a burden, with older people often portrayed as dependent recipients of government benefits, not engaged in the workforce and heavy users of health care services.
  • Older people make many important contributions to society, for example as informal carers and volunteers.
  • The large majority (~93%) of older Australians live, and want to live, in their own homes.
  • Depression and ill health are not inevitable in older age. And improvements in the health and wellbeing of older people are achievable through the use of psychological and behavioural interventions.

The APS believes that there needs to be:

  • Better recognition of, and adequate funding for, evidence-based behavioural interventions
  • A focus on healthy ageing rather than the view that ageing is a medical phenomenon
  • An active partnership between older Australians and policy makers through the development of an overall engagement framework with regards to the reform options in aged care policies and services.

APS resources

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Ethical Guidelines

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