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Friends tackle ageism one wrinkle at a time

Cate Shaw and Ros McMaster at work on their podcast Ironing Out the Wrinkles.


Friends tackle ageism one wrinkle at a time

Aging is how we move through life, and more of us are doing more of it than ever before in human history. Two Brisbane friends plan to “iron out the wrinkles” and show that it isn’t a problem to be solved, a disease to be cured or something icky that old people do.

To help move through the “afternoon of life” with less fear, Ros McMaster and Cate Shaw have teamed up with professionals from many fields of expertise to educate, motivate, support, and inspire, in their recently-launched podcast Ironing Out the Wrinkles.

The pair say they plan to take the age out of agism one wrinkle at a time, as they chat to guests who can help change the mindset and perception around what it means to be older.

Ros came up with the idea years ago, but the opportunity to get it off the ground came when her last child finally flew from the nest. (Or did she push him? She can’t quite recall.)

Ros, a counsellor and author, leant the old mattress against the windows, creating a soundproof recording studio, and Ironing Out the Wrinkles podcast came to life.

Her long-term friend Cate Shaw, an actress and vocalist, joined her as cohost to ensure a quality production for listener enjoyment.

“Cate’s voice has a soothing, calming effect. Politely interjecting with questions, she ensures listeners are given practical solutions to their issues, devoid of confusing psychobabble,” was the result.

Married for 48 years, Cate is quietly spoken, feminine, favours black figure-hugging attire and botox.

Approaching 70, she’s missing the many opportunities of youth – a time when she wasn’t affected  by ageism in the entertainment industry.

Many will relate to the issue of workplace ageism and one podcast guest is ageism activist Ashton Applewhite, who speaks passionately on the topic.

In contrast, Ros is more upbeat and unapologetically loud. She washes her face with soap, and will drive miles in search of the best thrift shops.  At 61, she’s always looking ahead for the next adventure to challenge herself.

She takes a humorous and stoic approach with their guests.

After interviewing Ros and Cate on his radio program, Spencer Howson said they have a Yin Yang vibe.

They are totally different and it’s this that makes the podcast work so well – wherever you’re at on your journey through aging they can, between them, relate and guests are selected accordingly.

But they’re not just hosts of Ironing Out the Wrinkles. They’re also learning from guests, with topics such as how to set boundaries with adult children, and why it’s important to update the will.

Newly single when she was in her 50s, Ros learns the do’s and don’ts of dating apps from the Dating Doctor, while Cate’s becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable as she discovers new ways of approaching “older-hood”.

One thing the pair do have in common is the strength they draw from their spiritual practices – the practices that kept them strong and helped them heal when they developed cancer in their 50s. Cate had breast cancer, and Ros stage 4 bowel cancer.

For them every new wrinkle is a sign that they got to be here another day; and that getting older is a cause for celebration.

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