Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2012 Contents All enquiries re exhibiting or attending, contact:
Wayne Woff, Manager, Total Aged Services
P: 03 9571 5606 / 0422 484 209 F: 03 9571 9708
CAREX supported by:
Sydney CAREX sponsored by:
August 8 & 9, Rosehill Racecourse
Attendees - Free admission, register online
now at www.totalagedservices.com.au
'Australia's premier health & aged care expo'
for CEOs, Managers, Health & other Professionals, staff ...
Other forthcoming events in 2012 ...
Dementia + Recreation National Conference
October 24 + 25, Melbourne
Aged Care Nurse Managers Conference
November 21 & 22, Melbourne
BOOKINGS NOW OPEN
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
For all details, see Expo Program
enclosed with this issue
A NEW TASKFORCE of 30 aged,
community and health care
organisations around Australia is
set to identify the country's most
effective social inclusion programs
and use the lessons learnt to
influence government policy.
But first, the group needs
the help of the aged care sector.
Benetas' manager of research
and development, Alan Gruner,
wants aged and community care
providers to nominate a 'good
practice' program which aims to
tackle social isolation.
"We don't want to duplicate
things already happening so
what we need to do is identify
good practice, showcase
these examples and hopefully
meet with the government and
influence policies in terms of the
findings," said Mr Gruner.
"So we are asking people to use
their networks and send in what they
know about good social inclusion
programs in their local areas."
Participation in this project,
he said, "really boils down to just
looking after your neighbour".
"If you are really interested in
your local community and want
older people to connect to each
other, then let's get out there and
really help those who are socially
isolated and really struggling."
Mr Gruner explained that an
ideal 'good practice' program
promotes social inclusion
outcomes and provides evidence
"For example, there is
one program operated by the
Brotherhood of St Lawrence where
volunteers and paid staff worked
with older people to identify those
at risk of social isolation.
"They then found out what
their particular interests were,
drew up a list of interests and
formed groups around these
interests. If some activities were
already operating in the area, the
Brotherhood organised transport
for [older people] to attend. The
project brought older people out
and helped them to mix, socially."
The taskforce, has a defined
role, terms of reference and
an immediate goal -- to find out
who is working to eradicate
social isolation in Australia's older
population, what is working best,
and how it is being achieved.
It was created as a result of
Benetas' national social isolation
forum in August last year.
"During the forum, we
identified the social participation
barriers for older people and
tried to look at some strategies
to address them. But, we didn't
want to have a forum and then let
[the issues] die.
"So we talked about what
would be the best follow-up. The
best way to do that was to form
a group of people interested in
promoting social inclusion."
The taskforce aims to identify
and explore examples of good
'social inclusion' practice; create
a data-base/clearing house of
these examples; publicise positive
findings; and work with
government to create and
encourage the implementation of
effective social inclusion policies.
Organisations represented in the
taskforce include the Brotherhood
of St Lawrence (Vic); Baptist
Community Services (NSW), the
Australian Men's Shed Association,
Centre for Cultural Diversity, Knox
City Council (Vic), Department of
Veteran's Affairs (NSW), Southern
Cross Care (WA) and the Primary
Health and Ambulatory Care
(Townsville Health Service, QLD).
Mr Gruner said the group will
soon meet with a representative
of the federal government's
social inclusion unit to discuss
possible ways to work together
and move forward.
"Social inclusion is important for
everyone but particularly, for older
people. Some people don't want
to be connected but most people
do seek relationships with other
people. If they are socially excluded
it can affect their whole quality of
life, physical and mental health.
"...There are a whole load
of reasons why people become
isolated from their community-
transport, ill health or the person
may find it hard to get around
because of frailty so they might
need assistance with mobility.
"And it's hard to recognise
these people because they are
hidden, particularly older people
as they might not have any family.
Often aged care providers and
community groups come in
contact with these people." n
Do you have a good example
of an initiative to address social
isolation among elderly people
in the community? To discuss
whether or not a program fits
the taskforce's best practice
criteria or for more information,
contact Bentas' social inclusion
coordinator, Steve Power, on
By Yasmin Noone
Taskforce to tackle
Photo courtesy of Benetas
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