9 July 2021

MEDIA RELEASE: Empowering Elders in an ageist society

Resolution Institute's 2021 Dispute Resolution Conference

Friday 9 July 2021

The University of South Australia’s Adjunct Associate Professor Dale Bagshaw will this week tell the Resolution Institute’s Dispute Resolution conference that Australia is an ageist society, and that ageism needs to be taken seriously and addressed before elder abuse can be stopped and there is no longer sub-standard aged care.

“Ageist attitudes lead to social exclusion, isolation, mental health issues and the marginalisation of older adults. With the baby boomers retiring and improved standards of living, Australia is rapidly ageing, and specially trained elder mediators are needed to assist older people, families, and service providers to have sometimes difficult conversations,” said Associate Professor Bagshaw.

“Active management and controlling of one’s living and social setting is an essential basis for physical and psychological well-being,” said Dr Bagshaw.

Elder mediation is a focused, preventative, respectful process usually multi-party, multi-issue and intergenerational. The mediator facilitates discussions focusing on present strengths and assists participants in addressing their stated wishes or concerns. This form of mediation can include many people related to the older person.

When decisions are made which directly impact an older person, with or without capacity, elder mediators can facilitate their voice being heard, directly or indirectly, so that their rights, safety, needs, and interests are understood and respected.

“Raising awareness of elder mediation and building knowledge about it is key to changing attitudes to Australia’s growing elderly population. Professional ethics, standards and certification have been developed for elder mediators therefore encouraging referrals to other services, including mediation and other services tailored to the circumstances of older people in Australia,” said Dr Bagshaw.

The Elder Mediation Australasian Network’s website provides information and knowledge about elder mediation and mediators working in this field and the Resolution Institute is working in partnership to make this information more widely available for dispute resolution practitioners, other professionals and people wishing to access elder mediation services.

“Elder mediators can assist older people, their families and significant others with difficult conversations, to make plans and to reach outcomes to disagreements – outcomes that work for the older persons, respect their rights and enhance their safety,” she said.Journalists who are interested in joining a panel session can register their interest by sending an email to and view the full program here

View the full list of speakers here

Resolution Institute would like to thank our sponsors and supporting organisations for their generous support.

Resolution Institute is the peak industry body across dispute resolution disciplines in Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand. We are a vibrant community of mediators, arbitrators, expert determiners, adjudicators, restorative justice practitioners and other dispute resolution professionals. We value integrity, excellence, innovation, collaboration, diversity and influence. We reflect these values in our work for and with our members.


Sean Brogan, Public Affairs Manager: 0407 436 709

Andrew Serb, Research and Policy Officer: (02) 9251 3366