A summary of the program has been written by Mylee Joseph.
Aloma Fennell from the National Older Women’s Network asked us to consider if we acknowledge, accept and use stereotypes in personal and public life? They affect health and well-being. She raised the challenge of age discrimination, attitudes and stereotypes as well as the challenge of homelessness. Did you know that ageist attitudes have implications for individual well-being, age equality and social inclusion? The number of older woman in Australia experiencing homelessness has increased by 31 per cent to close to 7,000 in 2016 (ABS). In 2016-17 more than 13,000 women accessed specialist homelessness services nearly 20,000 times.
Wendy Francis from Holdsworth Community pointed out that older people trying to access the website or call centre for MyAgedCare may experience barriers because they may not have internet access or digital skills, they may have sensory deficits, English may be their second language, they may not have high literacy levels or may be experiencing memory loss.
Shelly Harpur from the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit highlighted the WHO definition of elder abuse as “…a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.” This is different to crimes committed by strangers. It may be physical, psychological or emotional, financial, sexual abuse and neglect (intentional and unintentional). The NSW Elder Abuse Toolkit is a 5 step approach for identifying and responding to the abuse of older people and the Helpline is available to provide information, support and referrals to any caller who has experienced, witnessed, or suspects abuse of older people living in the community. Shelly suggested that libraries consider developing a policy for preventing and responding to the abuse of older people. The Helpline provide a Model Policy
Jun Moll from the Department of Human Services Financial Information Service pointed out that the ageing of the population in Australia is reshaping our community, there are currently more than 3.3 million people aged over 65 years and this is expected to rise to 4 million by 2021 and 7.5 million by 2041, that's a 25% increase. The low growth in the working age population is also a factor. The Financial Information Service (FIS) provides free, confidential services and they can help clients to understand their financial options, financial planning principles, tax and social security implications, superannuation and investment choices. FIS officers are available to give talks at libraries.
The guest speakers recommended several organisations and information sources:
- A TED talk by Ashton Applewhite "Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured," she says. "It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all."
- Australian Association of Gerontology (2018) Background Paper: Older women who are experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.
- Legal Aid factsheets and brochures on topics for older people
- 10 questions to ask
- Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association
Jo Henwood presented on the value of storytelling for older people
Thank you to the five libraries that contributed snapshots of various aspects of their services to older people:
- Magnolia Szabo – Randwick Library – Games and community led seniors events
- Rachel Vasallo - Woollahra Library – Lifelong learning and discovering digital delights
- Alison Kim - Lithgow Library - Library Ukulele Group
- Robert Swan – Campbelltown City Library – Navigators for eBooks
- Annette Chaplin - Camden Libraries – Stroke Recovery Project