The same ones recently identified by the United Nations as significant:
…major challenges faced by older persons that were common to all or most regions and that undermined the social, economic and cultural participation of the aged, namely, income security, access to age-appropriate health-care services, access to labour markets and social protection, protection from abuse and violence and age discrimination.
(Economic and Social Council, Commission for Social Development, E/CN.5/2014/4)
The group isn’t afraid to be political, but most of what they sing about are everyday issues affecting seniors.
Seniors Creating Change promote the positivity of our ageing society. Seniors are the fastest growing population worldwide, and one that raises major societal, economic and political challenges. Nationally, seniors will be one quarter of the population in 40 years time.
In Townsville seniors currently make up 9% of the population. By 2031 they will be 17.5% of the population. They are the fastest growing group between now and 2031 with a growth rate of 250%. The only other group that will grow is those aged between 45-64, which will increase to 24% of the local population at a growth rate of 37%. All other age groups have negative growth projected.
Given these projections SCC’s work as positive role models can only become more important as time goes by.
SCC are particularly interested in raising awareness about and reducing the incidence of Elder abuse. Elder abuse is “any act occurring within a relationship where there is an implication of trust, which results in harm to an older person. Abuse can be physical, sexual, financial, psychological, social and/or neglect” (INPEA, 1997).
Elder abuse is a serious social problem and important public health issue. It is a violation of human rights and causes significant injury, illness, lost productivity, isolation and despair (ANPEA). The extent of elder abuse is unknown and reported cases are likely to be the tip of the iceberg. As the population ages, elder abuse seems likely to increase. The consequences of elder abuse are stark. Seniors who are abused are more likely to develop depression and dementia (Bitondo et al, 2000) and enter residential care prematurely (Age Concern New Zealand, 2009). Elder abuse can even hasten death (Lachs et al, 2004). Elder abuse occurs for many reasons including a loss of respect for seniors. It is this lost respect that SCC seeks to regain.
SCC has recognised that ageism is at the heart of many seniors’ issues. It is inherent to abuse in older populations (Megret, 2011). It is a process of systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people simply because they are older (Lord, 2011). It is a prominent social phenomenon of labelling of older persons as incompetent merely for their age (Doron and Apter, 2010).
In Australia there is an obvious negative attitude towards ageing and older people, a manifestation of which is the often patronising, and devaluing stereotypes of older people portrayed by the media (EAPU). Accordingly, we do not give the same weight to something that happens to an older person (Yates, 2013) and we take the view that ‘people cease to be people, or become people of a distinct and inferior kind, by virtue of having lived a specific number of years’ (Megret, 2011).
SCC opposes Ageism through their activities, by breaking down negative, ageist stereotypes and engaging with the community in contemporary ways.
SCC identified Social Isolation and Social Exclusion as targets for their work, at individual and systemic levels. Social isolation is a low level of interaction with others, combined with the experience of loneliness (Queensland Government, Department of Communities, 2007). It occurs when people are not able to participate in key activities in their community (Anglicare, 2010). People experiencing social isolation are less likely to access health and support services (Warburton and Lui, 2007). Social isolation is a risk factor of elder abuse.
Seniors Creating Change works to breakdown social isolation for its members and for those they visit in aged care.