He showed snippets of TV interviews he conducted with dynamic older people, but said he had subsequently struggled to interest various elements of the media in positive stories about older people, and that the issue would become more important as society aged.
"Until we get the media on our side and pressure them to do positive things, then we'll struggle a lot harder to get this message across," he said.
New local government minister Rosie Winterton said Sir Michael's 30-minute speech and question and answer session had been "fantastic".
She added that with one in four babies now being born expected to live to the age of 100, the nation would have to get used to the idea of adults having 30-year retirements that should be enjoyed rather than endured.
Earlier in the day Sir Michael attended the "Dignity - Who Cares?" event in Leeds. Over 200 senior leaders across health and social care in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber Regions attended to see how they could influence change in their organisations to ensure Dignity for all.