Category Archives: Aging in the Workplace

The Remarkable Australian Men’s Shed Association

Pam Brandon introduces the Indooroopilly Men’s Shed in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

On my recent travels to the beautiful country of Australia, one of the highlights of my trip was my visit to the Indooroopilly Men’s Shed,  one of many such sheds throughout the country.

The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) is the peak body supporting almost 1000 Men’s Sheds and is recognized as one of Australia’s largest male based community development organizations.

Founded in 2007, AMSA is funded by the Federal Department of Health to provide practical support to Men’s Sheds and deliver a wide range of services. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of members and reduce the number of men who are at risk from preventable health issues that may emanate from isolation.

Tour the Indooroopilly Men’s Shed with host David Silcox

Through collaboration and strategic partnerships with national, state, territory and health related community services such as beyondblue, Heart Foundation, Department of Veteran Affairs, Cancer Council, AMSA has developed a range of resources and delivered a variety of national initiatives such as “Spanner in the Works?”, a men’s health project.

Tour of the Indooroopilly Men’s Shed with host David SilcoxTheir tagline reads “Shoulder to Shoulder”.   Research points to the fact that men communicate with others side-to-side, while women are more inclined to communicate face to face.

Sociologist Harry Brod surmises that the side-by-side shoulder orientation is a way for men to seek intimacy. “Numerous studies have established that men are more likely to define emotional closeness as working or playing side-by-side, while women often view it as talking face-to-face. Men, for example, derive intimacy from playing and watching sports.”

Through the activities and programs offered at the Men’s Shed, it promotes healthy aging, reduces risk of depression, isolation and chronic illness that are often associated with aging adults, especially men.

The objectives of the Indooroopilly Men’s Shed in Queensland include:

  • Advance the health and well-being of members.
  • Promote men’s health programs.
  • Identify and nurture innovative ideas and activities for men.
  • Encourage men with widely varying skills.
  • Pursue hobbies, pastimes and interests.
  • Learn new skills and practice and pass on old skills.
  • Learn about their own and other men’s health and well-being.
  • By their efforts contribute to their families, their friends, the Sed and the wider community.
  • Mentor younger men.
  • Promote members’ empathy for fellow men.
  • Enhance personal and group self-esteem and pride in accomplishments.
  • Foster members’ interest in and assistance to the local community.

For more information visit

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those that serve them.

Improving Cultural Competence in Senior Care Through Training

The increasing diversity of the U.S. and other nations offers opportunities and challenges for senior care  care providers, health care systems, and policy makers to create and deliver services to culturally diverse patients and to train and increasingly culturally diverse workforce. Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) attitude towards cultural differences, (c) knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) cross-cultural skills.   Developing cultural competence through training can result  in a better ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures and can lead to a 15% decrease in miscommunication.  In senior care, this communications training can significantly improve outcomes, especially in caring for those with dementias, chronic illness, pain and at end-of-life.

Training the workforce on understanding cultural issues that are relevant to better understanding patient and family values and needs will.  Cultural competence enhances the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients. A culturally competent health care system can help improve health outcomes and quality of care, and can contribute to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities. Examples of strategies to move the health care system towards these goals include providing relevant training on cultural competence and cross-cultural issues to senior care and health professionals and creating policies that reduce barriers to patient/resident care.

Cultural competence training methods can enhance transparency between language, values, beliefs, and cultural differences. Training in cultural competence often includes careful consideration of how best to approach people’s various forms of diversity. This new found awareness oftentimes allows people to better establish  equity in their environments and enhances interrelationships between one another for increased productivity levels.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute, whose mission is to develop and deliver aging and dementia training to professional and family caregivers.

“The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be” – Yogi Berra was Right!

Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was an American professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball.  One of his famous quotes “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be” couldn’t be more appropriate as we look at the paradigm shifts taking place in our aging world.

Let’s ponder these facts:

  • By 2050, the number of people over 65 will more than double. Cities, communities, companies–and our entire culture–have some adjusting to do.
  • According the World Health Organization, the world will be short of 12.9 million health-care workers by 2035; today, that figure stands at 7.2 million. A 2013 WHO report  warns that the findings – if not addressed now – will have serious implications for the health of billions of people across all regions of the world.
  • Increases in the number of older Americans will have a profound impact on the age structure of the U.S. population. Back in 1970, children made up about one-third of the U.S. population, and only one-tenth were ages 65 and older. Today, the proportion who are children has dropped to about one-fourth, while the share who are elderly has risen to 13 percent.
No doubt we have enormous challenges,  but at the same time I believe an equal or even great number of opportunities.  So what is our call to action as change agents?
Lawmakers are hearing and responding from the vast organizations across the US and world who are committed to bettering policies across the aging spectrum.  These voices are changing policies and actions.   We are witnessing age friendly/dementia friendly movements sweeping the US and certainly across the globe.
Our young people have the greatest opportunity in history to move into healthcare jobs.  We’re seeing more programs implemented in high schools that direct students to careers in allied health and professional disciplines.

Collaboration among and between private and public sectors who serve aging adults and their caregivers is taking off.  We are all realizing that creating partnerships benefits all stake holders.

I think the legacy of this time period is not just about the paradigm shift, but that we have before us the greatest opportunity to instill in people the need to care for our elders and each other as we face these enormous societal challenges.   We can humanize the way we care for others across generations.  This is exciting and perhaps the greatest gift we can give to future generations.

The future certainly ain’t what it used to be…it can be better than ever!

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  A passionate advocate for our elders and those that care for them, her company’s mission is grounded in creating transformative change by providing innovative training and education.

The World needs more AGE-u-caters! Are you one of them?

The rapid pace of our aging world is changing the face of every facet of our society from health and long term care, to faith communities and business establishments.  Across the spectrum, issues such as these are at the forefront of leadership discussions:

  • Dementia friendly hospitals – how do we transition as the average patient age increases and cognitive impairment becomes more prevalent
  • Person and Resident-centered long term care – how do we properly train the current workforce and prepare for the shortage that is already upon us and certain to become even more severe in the near future?
  • Families caring for older adults make up the largest percentage of caregivers in the US and the world.  How do we educate, support and provide resources to help them cope with the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual challenges of the caregiving journey?
  • Faith Communities are faced with ministering and caring for their skyrocketing numbers of aging adults, yet often lack the training, staff and volunteers to meet the complex needs of their members and families.  How do they receive guidance and training to help them further their ministry and mission in helping those in need?
  • Age friendly communities, businesses and organizations must have a plan and guidance to successfully meet changing demographics.  Who can help with better understanding the needs of older adults?

Aging educators and trainers work with long term care providers, hospitals, the business community, families, faith communities, and public agencies.  They are trained in a variety of aging and caregiver topics,  whether one is a professional or family care partner, business person who serves an older adult population, or serves either of these groups with public resources.  We call them AGE-u-caters and they are part of our team at the AGE-u-cate® Training Institute!

AGE-u-caters are  seasoned professionals in the aging field, coming from the senior care industry, clinicians, social work or education.  All have a passion to help others by using their skills to train, educators and coach others.  Often they are looking for a career change, recently retired from long term regular employment, or supplementing retirement income or other part time work.

AGE-u-caters are networkers, involved in their communities and continually learning about the aging field.  They are part of a fast growing worldwide network aging advocates in their local and regional communities.

The world needs more AGE-u-caters!  Could you be one of them?

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  She is a passionate advocate for aging adults and those that care for them and is leading a fast growing network of worldwide AGE-u-caters who offer innovative and powerful training and education programs – creating transformative change for an aging world!