University of Tasmania

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Older age, aged care, and ageism during the coronavirus pandemic: narratives from Australia

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 21:36 authored by Peta CookPeta Cook
The coronavirus pandemic has generated numerous media and political responses that bring together health, risk, and age. Within these responses, older people have been cast as ‘the vulnerable elderly’ who are in poor health, considered to be automatically at risk of COVID-19 due to their age, and are less socially worthy and valuable than younger people. This simplistic connection between older age, frailty and ill-health reduces older age to a medical and health problem, which perpetuates and deepens ageism. The implied connection has been particularly evident during the coronavirus pandemic through the imposition of severe lockdown restrictions on older people who are living in aged (or long-term) care facilities. These socio-political and institutional regulations have heightened the isolation from society that older people living in such environments already face, ironically further threatening their health and wellbeing. Drawing on Australian media reports and political responses to coronavirus, and restrictions on people living in Australian residential aged care during 2020, I will explore how ageism and risk narratives during the coronavirus pandemic jeopardised older Australians health, wellbeing, and dignity of risk, while also reinforcing pre-existing barriers to social inclusion.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 2022 ENAS & NANAS Joint Conference




1 piece- abstract


School of Social Sciences


North American Network in Aging Studies

Place of publication


Event title

ENAS & NANAS Joint Conference

Event Venue


Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Ageing and older people; Expanding knowledge in human society