WHILE she admits she’s still getting her head around the role, the new head of seniors peak body Council on the Ageing NSW, Meagan Lawson, sees challenging society’s perceptions about older people as an important aspect of her job.
“We can go down the path of thinking all old people are the same, but they’re not.
“I want to encourage people to be looking around a bit more broadly and see the diversity of older people rather than having this fixed image and seeing them as a problem instead of an integral part of society.”
Ms Lawson joins COTA from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, where for the past two years she managed the Ageing Team.
As well as leading development of the refreshed NSW Ageing Strategy and its implementation, she was instrumental in commissioning the Art of Ageing – a photographic exhibition challenging perceptions of ageing.
She has worked across all levels of government, including four years as a Hawkesbury City councillor, and as a federal ministerial adviser.
Ms Lawson also has extensive experience in the non-government sector, including a two-year stint as manager of policy and advocacy at Cancer Council NSW.
She said COTA NSW had a history of going out and talking to older people to find out the issues they wanted the organisation to take up – and this will continue.
She said the organisation would focus in part on the five key areas of the NSW Ageing Strategy: health and wellbeing, working and retiring, housing choices, getting around and inclusive communities.
“I’ve done a lot of work in the policy and advocacy space and that’s where I feel at home.
“I want to build the profile of COTA NSW so we can develop discussion around the issues we want people to focus on.”