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The "aged" are perceived symbolically as problems for society. Of course it is important continually to remind ourselves that most older people are not sick, are not disabled, are not desperately poor, are reasonably well housed, and like the locations they live in. There are however significant numbers that do have difficulties in many areas. The message I keep stressing is that we must discard the totally inappropriate cliche that older people are problems, and concentrate instead on the problems they have. To do so requires good policy analysis, strong community responsiveness, and very importantly the elimination of unrealistic patronising and unhelpful stereotypes.
Speech presented at the Uniting Church National Aged Care Conference, Adelaide, 14th-17th July, 1986 by Adam Graycar, Commissioner for the Ageing. This speech is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/