The role of psychologists in fostering the wellbeing of older Australians

  • Gething L
  • Gridley H
  • Browning C
 et al. 
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The United Nations International Year of Older Persons (IYOP) in 1999 prompted the Australian Psychological Society (APS) to review its responsibilities and to consider the contribution of psychological research and practice to the wellbeing of older Australians. This article reports a series of recommendations for public policy, research, training and psychological practice, drawn from a larger Position Paper that addressed a spectrum of issues. The aim is to encourage psychologists to turn a critical gaze on themselves and to examine ways In which psychology can be used to promote successful ageing. The article begins with a definition of "successful ageing". This is followed by an examination of ageism and how this affects community expectations of older people and the quality of aged care services. Attention also is given to the low visibility of psychologists. In service planning and delivery and to the overemphasis of much psychological research and practice on deficits and decline in later years. The International Year of Older Persons has come and gone, but the true test of its effectiveness will lie in evidence of longer-term changes in attitudes, policies and practices. Psychologists have much to contribute to these changes and to enhancing the wellbeing of older Australians.

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  • Lindsay Gething

  • Heather Gridley

  • Colette Browning

  • Edward Helmes

  • Mary Luszcz

  • Jane Turner

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