COVID-19, Ageism and the Commodity of Care for the Marginalised Frail Aged Population: Why aren’t problems with Australia’s Aged Care system being talked about enough?

  • Estelle Rillstone The University of Sydney


COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities experienced by our marginalised aged population globally. Severe shortcomings of the Australian aged care system have been exposed, prompting the focus of this paper; why aren’t problems with Australia’s aged care system being talked about enough? Two theoretical lenses drive this analysis, understanding ageism and the impact of neoliberalism. International discourse surrounding innovative models of care and whole-of-system approaches will be examined, alongside close consideration of economic and social policy contexts in Australia and globally. This paper aims to highlight the structural and ideological fluidity that has been sparked by the global health crisis, providing an ideal opportunity to implement large-scale systematic reform, while emphasising the role of social workers as key advocates for older people throughout all levels of policy and service design and delivery to come.