Scroll down to read a brief personal statement from each of the Committee members describing why they want to be a part of The AGEncy Project.
Dr Margot Woods
Peninsula Village Hub Co-ordinator
Working as a general practitioner for many years has given me the privilege of being involved in many people’s lives on a close and intimate level. From birth to death, I have seen those on the journey succeed and other times struggle to find the right path.
I have learnt from my patients that ageing can be a time of joy and fulfillment but also a
time of loneliness, loss of purpose and loss of connection. I believe that we can all learn from each other and the collective knowledge can help us all make the journey a better one.
I have seen some not get to old age and they especially, have made me feel ageing is a privilege and it should be embraced and done as well as possible.
Raising children who I can honestly say, make me proud each day makes me feel I am leaving a legacy. I hope that my children want to see me when I’m old but I do not feel it’s their responsibility to look after me and certainly I have no right to make them feel obligated. I want them to explore and grow as much as possible and I’d love to watch this happen, not hold them back or burden them.
Teaching the next generation of medical professionals will hopefully help them learn to respect and value those who are ageing for the life they have had and to support them to make decisions true to themselves. This is a hope for all of us, however, they will be my doctors so it’s also personal!
It is also important to me to tread lightly on the earth. Living sustainably and making it easier for others to live sustainably is an important goal for me.
My generation has done it our way. We have had the world at our feet and we have embraced it. Blessed by the time and place of birth, this has allowed us time to learn and grow and that life experience is now ready to be added back to the community.
Health is much larger than our physical health, it’s how we connected to our community and our environment. If we get those wrong, we can’t be well and healthy. We need to ensure that we keep connected to community and feel we have a role and purpose or we will age faster and lose ourselves. Communities are rich, diverse and complex and being isolated from our community as many of us are as we age, decreases the value of the aged person’s life and the richness of the community.
Joining the AGEncy Project is the way I see to fulfil the dream of ageing well, with dignity, comfort, connectedness and value leaving a way forward to be improved by those who follow. I want to embrace aging as another stage of life-with its joys and challenges just like all the other stages.
Let me keep my AGEncy. Let me do it my way.
David (Dizzy) Scandol
I am honoured to be a member of the founding committee for the AGEncy Project. I believe we have assembled a group that is passionate, effective and qualified to create a vision for the future that will make Australian society a better place to grow old in. As an orphan I have not had to deal with ageing parents, but I have watched my step mothers, aunts and contemporary’s parents, with a certain ‘apprehension’. I think my biggest concerns are around becoming a burden to my family (I don’t want them to feel like visiting me is a chore). I also want to maintain the highest possible lifestyle in terms of intellectual stimulation, community connection and physical lifestyle (food, activity etc).
My vision is to move into somewhere that I would like to go when I am 70 as opposed to forced into when I am 80. I want to be with my friends and in my local community. The chance of my children and grandchildren living close to me are slim, so I need to be as independent of them as possible. I want activities to keep me engaged, fit and entertained. However I also realise that one day, I will need physical, mental and social support close by. Support for maintenance of my home, support for IT or whatever new technologies that will be part of our lives in the 2030s. Emotional support that is not necessarily provided by my family. Physical support in the form of being wheelchair friendly, design-sensitive to the challenges of dementia, supportive of transport needs if required and so on.
I also want to be as independent of the government as I possibly can be. The cost to society for keeping us all is going to be borne by increasingly fewer taxpayers. It feels to me that if it comes to paying for my hip replacement, or paying for my grandchild’s education, the governments of the future are going to have some tough decisions to make. The more we can rely on each other, and find cost savings through communal sharing of resources and direct management, the easier it should be to fund ourselves for as long as possible. Finally I like to lead change and try to think outside the square. Is there is a better way of doing it? If so, let’s try and find it. What is happening in the rest of the world? Is there something sitting under our noses that no one else has thought of? Unless you trawl the ocean, you are never going to find the pearls.
I’m an architect with a longstanding interest and over 15 years experience in designing buildings, spaces and places that support ageing well. After many years visiting, studying, designing and writing about environments for older people, I am committed to and advocate for creating better places to grow old in.
A few years ago I completed a travelling scholarship looking at innovative buildings for older people in Europe and one of the best options I saw was a self-owned and operated community in Switzerland, similar to the co-housing model, started by friends who wanted to make their own place to grow old in. It was wonderful, like a series of airy, light filled, loft apartments. Ever since then one of my goals has been to try to create a similar situation here. So my main reason for being on the committee is to use whatever experience, knowledge and skills I can to make this happen.
I have seen it in operation and have spoken to people involved and believe it can be done – and once done, it can be replicated to provide another and in many ways, better, alternative to traditional accommodation for older people. So there is also a legacy aspect. I want to create the sort of environment that I would like to grow old in and I want to live there too of course – if they’ll have me!
I think it is important to contribute to social change if you think things can improve. I see the difficulties of the current aged care system and don’t wish to see myself in one of the facilities currently on offer. I believe it is time to rethink the way aged care is managed and we may well be able to create something that is very beneficial to us, and to others to come.
I see the AGEncy Project as being akin to the creation of a sort of ‘club’ of like-minded
people at a similar stage of life, planning now for life at the next stage. In addition I see the Project as an ‘insurance policy’ of sorts. Who knows how circumstances will change over the next 10-15 years? But if I am in the Balmain area, all other things being equal, I like the idea of a ‘post work’, consciously developed, sharing oriented local community in which to live as long as it is feasible. So I am glad to participate in a group to work on this.
I’ve been interested in co-housing communities for over 30 years (although I called them by a different name). I was very happy to hear of the Agency Project since it fitted well with a number of my ideals. As I transition to my retirement, belonging to a community is very important to me in order to have a happy and productive senior part of my life. Living in a co-housing project is attractive to me as the ultimate in community living.
After an interesting academic career that was funded by the community/government, I now wish to give back to the community via volunteering and other charitable activities. The Agency project is an important venture that I feel is worth spending a lot of time and effort supporting.
I want to be able to steer the AGEncy Project towards eventually developing a cohousing project in the Balmain area in which I can live. I am also very keen to continue developing the Agency Hub which has been successful in bringing together a lovely group of people who are gradually getting to know each other much better as a result of meeting at some of our different activities. I am a self-employed management consultant and coach, working in predominantly the public sector infrastructure environment. However, I have a background as a health policy manager and experience of working in not for profit organisations and government.
As an experienced facilitator I aim to support agency cohousing and community by facilitating group processes, structuring strategy documents and generally being an enthusiastic contributor to the work we do.
I have been interested in Cohousing in general and Senior Cohousing in particular since 2017. I believe that cohousing can be a viable and life-affirming alternative to retirement villages, care homes and living alone as people age. I also believe senior cohousing can benefit both individuals and the wider community, including governments at every level.
I would personally like to live in a small-ish mixed generation community (15 to 30 dwellings) that is based on a set of agreed principles, for both infrastructure and day-to-day living, that are compatible with The AGEncy Project’s Value Statement 2016.
I would also like to be involved in the set-up work to make this happen – both project-specific and more generally.