Seniors in Focus 2018

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:  

Jo Henwood presented on the value of storytelling for older people

There were also seniors focussed presentations on Find Legal Answers from Catherine Bryant and Drug Info  from Andrea Curr. They spoke about the importance of providing legal and drug and alcohol information to seniors and provided examples and suggestions for library promotions and events. You can find information about promoting legal information to seniors and promoting  drug and alcohol infomation to seniors on our website.

Thank you to the five libraries that contributed snapshots of various aspects of their services to older people: 

You can learn more about the activities of the working group via the NSW HLS wiki and you are welcome to join the email list  for library staff who work with older people.