In a storm of depressing news on a Q&A episode devoted to the aged-care crisis, there were bright spots: the presence of two sparkling advertisements for ageing with wisdom and grace.
On the panel was national treasure Maggie Beer, 75 and a glowing, inspiring figure who has made it her mission to prick the national conscience on how we treat our elderly - most particularly, how we feed them.
And in the audience was a reminder that you can indeed become a TV star in your late 80s if you play your cards right.
This came from Shirley McClaren, 87, one of the stars of the recent ABC reality smash Old People's Home For 4-Year-Olds. It was one of the best television series of this or any other year, thanks in part to the on-camera contributions of its accidental celebrities like Shirley.
Her very interesting life began long before the ABC cameras came calling at her retirement home on Sydney's northern beaches, as she reminded the Q&A audience.
"In 1951, when the Korean War broke out, I was selected to join the women's Royal Australian Air Force, and I served for four and a half years," she began.
"Recently, I was on the ABC program Old People's Home For 4-Year-Olds..."
That was the cue for the night's biggest round of applause from the entire studio and the entire panel - a reminder that the series hit a national nerve.
Shirley went on to celebrate what we had learned from the series, which documented the interaction between aged care residents and a tribe of kids.
"I know first hand how beneficial these intergenerational activities can be," she said.
Of federal aged-care minister Richard Colbeck and his Labor counterpart Julie Collins, she wanted to know: "If intergenerational activities can help delay the onset of dementia, and help reduce the severity of dementia symptoms, then what plans does the government have to fund intergenerational activities in the future?"
Both politicians pledged their general support for such programs, but it fell to Maggie Beer to once again remind us that the value of everything cannot be measured in dollars alone.
"Does it cost money?" Beer asked.
"Or is it opening people's minds to the opportunity? And that show and others on the ABC have done that. You have done it so brilliantly. It just takes people looking at things differently.
"I went to the opening of Montessori school in South Australia the middle of an aged-care home. Can you believe it? That's what we need. We need to encourage it, talk about and show how great it is."
It was one of the few moments of panel-wide agreement in a debate that traversed the various issues troubling the aged-care sector - from the standard of food, to the key question of staff-to-resident ratios. These sound like no brainers - of course there should be better food, and more staff - but it all comes down to the mighty dollar.
Beer is campaigning to have the current level of spending on food raised from the present $6 per resident, per day.
"At $6 or $7 you can only have processed and frozen foods," she said.
"So, it's impossible to give the quality of life that we must give to our people in aged care homes and in society, by the way ... with knowledge, you can do really beautiful food, where everything else is right, for about $10.50 a day. When you have beautiful food, you don't have need for supplements, you have a positive workforce because they are proud. What we do is spend money differently, and raise the bar."
- SMH/The Age