WSCF Accessible Public Transport Submission
In June 2023, WSCF submitted a response to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts regarding their review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport. Our recommendations included: making fundamental information about public transport usage and timetabling accessible via unmetered connection; delivering mandatory training for public transport operators about the specific needs of people with disability and older people; and strengthening engagement with First Nations and culturally diverse people with disability for future reviews of the Transport Standards.
Emergency Leave Extension Granted for Aged Care Residents
Emergency leave for permanent aged care residents has been extended until 31 December 2023. This leave is used by those wishing to temporarily relocate during COVID-19 outbreaks without having to use their social leave. Aged care homes will still be paid residential care subsidy during this period of leave, and the claiming types have now been updated in the Aged Care Provider Portal to reflect this change. The Department of Health and Aged Care have fact sheets for residents and providers discussing this type of leave.
Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner Retires
Dr Kay Patterson AO will be retiring from her position as Age Discrimination Commissioner, which she has held for seven years. Notable achievements from Dr Patterson’s career and life have included ongoing advocacy in relation to elder abuse and ageism. She has been an ongoing champion of initiatives such as Elder Abuse Action Australia, OPAN’s Ready to Listen project which worked to prevent sexual assault of older people in residential aged care, and 100 Canberra which helped reduce ageist stereotypes and increased meaningful connections between teenagers and people 100 years or older. She also informed the aged care reforms through her role as a member of the Council of Elders. It is not known yet who will be taking her place.
NSW Government Ensures Funding Indexation for Some Non-Government Organisations
Frontline workers will be seeing pay rises through indexation of grant payments to non-government organisations by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) and NSW Health at 5.75% for 2023-24. This change has already come into effect from 1 July 2023, and will see services such as domestic and family violence, homelessness services, and neighbourhood services receiving more funding for essential services without having to wait until the September budget.
Reducing the Stigma of Elder Abuse
Professor Bianca Brijnath has gathered information on elder abuse and co-designed a new support model of care with family carers, older people, hospital health care providers and elder abuse experts, which will assist older people in identifying and reporting elder abuse and improve their overall health. Professor Brijnath’s research aimed to address the barriers that prevent older people from acknowledging and reporting abuse, including stigma and shame, and reluctance to report family members. The new model of care would help hospital health care providers by providing training on elder abuse, a screening tool, and a site champion who offers further support. For anyone wishing to file a report, call 1800 353 374.
Companion Animal Network Australia (CANA) Survey Findings
This report presents findings from CANA’s surveys which asked questions about older people’s relationships with their pets, and their role in the aged care system. The surveys found that the benefits of allowing pets in an aged care setting led to an 86 per cent improvement in mental and physical health and assisted in easing the transition to aged care by 45 per cent. The top three main barriers to allowing this included lack of education for aged care facility owners on the benefits, lack of funding for design changes to accommodate pets, and a shortage of workers who can deliver or support pet programs. This report highlights the importance of having pet-friendly aged care to allow older people to continue to live healthy and connected lives.
CANA is continuing to seek a better understanding of the role that pets play in healthy ageing and are looking for people to participate in their surveys.
Council on the Ageing South Australia (COTA SA) Rainbow Horizons Project Report
COTA SA have released a report on their project Rainbow Horizons: Don’t Leave Me This Way, which was aimed at supporting the LGBTI+ community in relation to end-of-life planning and care. It includes discussion on the needs of LGBTI+ people at end of life, the Rainbow Horizons model for end-of-life support, evaluation and recommendations.