In August this year, Australians across the country took notice of one man, who dared to dream, against the odds.
David William Goodall is not an Olympian, a celebrity chef or a reality TV star. He is a quiet achiever, who was working steadily and consistently at his office at Edith Cowan University. He is 102 years old.
Recently, the university decided that they would no longer allow Dr Goddall, an honorary research associate, to attend work on campus.
“The ability to contribute is a very important factor in peoples’ independence as they age. It’s clearly important to Professor Goodall, and it’s what’s at risk here” said Paul Ostrowski, CEO at Care Connect.
Dr Goddall recently told ABC radio, “I would like to continue in my pattern of work, partly because it’s a way of seeing my surroundings more than I would.”
Care Connect firmly believes that the routines, environment and surroundings that Dr Goddall is talking about, are an important part of peoples’ well-being and happiness. Empowering people to make choices to live their own lives in their own way, with dignity and autonomy, is the foundation of what we do at Care Connect.
Mr Ostrowski said, “We do understand that the University has obligations under Workplace Health and Safety, however, as a society, we need to rethink many structures, to ensure that healthy participation and active contribution remains a possibility for everyone, as they age, should they wish to remain active in this way.”
Over the decades we have seen the retirement age in Australia slowly rise. It now sits at 70, making it one of the highest in the world. As this trend continues, our society will need to be forwarding thinking in our approach, to how we enable active and safe workplace participation, for older Australians. Though Dr Goodall is a very rare example at 102, he is certainly not the first or only person who has aspirations to remain connected to systems of work, beyond the retirement age.
Pleasingly, Vice-Chancellor Steve Chapman is on the public record as having said, “To minimise these risks, we have consulted with him and his family and reached an agreement to set up a home office at a location of his choosing. David will always be welcome at ECU and we will make travel arrangements, at no cost to him, to attend prearranged meetings and events.”*
“There is no doubt that we should celebrate examples like Dr Goodall, living happily and engaging in the things that give him independence, for life. It’s something we should all aspire to.” said Mr Ostrowski.
If you or someone you know is working significantly beyond the retirement age, with an inspiring story to tell, about ageing positively, we’d love to hear from you.