A Newcastle geriatrician has been named the 2024 Senior Australian of the Year for NSW.
John Ward won the award last night at a ceremony in Sydney and will now head to the national Australian of the Year Awards on January 25 with the winners from all the other states and territories.
The 79-year-old co-founded the Hunter Ageing Alliance, which calls for governments, businesses and organisations to better focus on older people’s needs. The organisation has eight programs in planning or implementation stage to create age-friendly communities, tackle elder abuse and end social isolation of older people.
Mr Ward from Georgetown, is also the Director of the Prison Medical Service, he provided care to inmates – despite few resources – and advocated for prison reform to protect this vulnerable group.
Focusing on geriatric medicine and aged care since the mid-1980s, he advocates for older Australians and the importance of social determinants of health such as social connection, exercise and accessible environments.
His integrated, collaborative approach to dementia care for patients and their carers has made the Hunter region a leader in this field.