Care and Ageing Expo Flashback!

 

Just a few photos from the Care and Ageing Expo. Always a wonderful opportunity to catch up with colleagues like Mark Teale, CEO of COTA and Verity James, the MC for the Expo…and above all else, being able to speak with people about how to think and plan to stay well at home now and into the future!

 

 

 

City of Belmont Seniors Plan for the Next Season!

City of Belmont Seniors Planning for the Next Season!

It certainly has been a busy winter here in Perth for Planning for the Next Season!

Over the course of two days, about fifty (FIFTY!) seniors from the City of Belmont attended Planning for the Next Season workshops on 14th and 22nd June.  The feedback from the sessions was outstanding. What’s more, more older people are now thinking and planning about how they can stay home well now and into the future with a good understanding about how the aged care system works and how they can be clear about articulating their needs with providers.

Well done to all the participants and a special thanks to Helen O’Sullivan at the City of Belmont for her great work with seniors and people with disability in the City of Belmont.

 

Melissa Young PFTNS and Helen O’Sullivan from the City of Belmont

City of Belmont Seniors Planning for the Next Season

How old are you?

Years ago, when I was studying Gerontology, I had a professor who taught a class called “Ageing and the Law”. I can’t remember his name, but I remember a number of things he said as he was older himself and he dropped tiny pearls of wisdom (or truth bombs- depending on your perspective) at virtually every lecture.

Once he said, “Every person has a chronological age and the age that they would say they were if they didn’t look in the mirror. Often, you will find that these two ages are different. If you don’t believe me, go ask some people and see what they say”. At the time I was working in three separate subsidised housing complexes and had access to about 900 older people. I decided to test my professor’s theory and ask some of the residents the question. It. Was. Amazing.

To one very conservative older lady, I asked “How old would you say you were if you didn’t look in the mirror?” She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and smiled like I hadn’t seen before and chuckled. She said “I’d say I was 22. The boys would come home on leave (from the war) and we’d go down to meet them and then we’d go out and dance. We’d just dance and dance and dance. Those were the best times.”

To an older man I asked the same question. His face changed and brightened as he told me that when he closed his eyes he felt 19- when he was just starting out in the world and it was open to all possibilities.

I asked the question any number of times and it was always the same, the age that people feel is quite often not their chronological age. This isn’t to discount people’s life experiences that make up who they are, rather, that what is on the outside is not the whole truth of a person. Maybe you’ve had the experience of truly seeing someone for who they are and not for their physical limitations or ‘old’ appearance. If you work in aged care, this may be one of the things you find most valuable in your work.

As aged care reform marches on and we talk about ‘care’, levels of support, assessment and registered providers, perhaps it’s time to think about older people as…people. People who feel largely the same as they did at a particular point in time before they had limitations-before they required support. Perhaps it’s also a time to recognise that older people have rich life experience and are a growing part of the social capital we have available.

As providers of aged care, how can we tap into the knowledge and experience of older people to help us in supporting them as they age? It’s worth having the conversation and really listening to what is important and ideas about how it can happen.

If we are lucky, we will grow old, and will be able to offer to those who would listen, the enthusiasm of the age we feel, combined with the experience of the years we have lived.

Go on. Close your eyes. How old would you be if you hadn’t looked in the mirror this morning?

New at Planning for the Next Season

Planning for the Next Season is pleased to announce that we are working in partnership with CommunityWest to deliver the very best in early planning materials, consultancy and workshop experience! CommunityWest reimagines community services so that people who are frail or who have an ongoing disability can live independently for as long as possible. They do this by providing consulting, learning and audit services to community sector organisations. The values of CommunityWest and Planning for the Next Season are aligned and we are happy to be working together in the early planning and intervention space.

The Planning For the Next Season facilitator guides are shortly hot off the press and, as always, the Planning for the Next Season workbooks are available anytime.

Many options for Plannnig for the Next Season are available to providers and consumer services alike. For example, we are offering a Planning for the Next Season providers package which will give you the facilitator’s guide, twenty workbooks and two hours of consultancy time. That package will give providers everything they need in order to run Planning for the Next Season workshops on their own.

Other packages are available including consultancy only or workshop materials only. Head over to the CommunityWest website here to learn more.

Looking forward to learning together and supporting people to forge their own path they age well at home.

 

 

Coming soon……!

 

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At Planning for the Next Season we are always working to bring you new ideas, tools and thinking. Soon, we’ll have a brand new resource available- the Planning for the Next Season facilitator’s guide! How soon? The guide is just about ready to go to print.

With the facilitator’s guide and participant workbooks, this means that organisations and groups, both formal and informal, will be able to run Planning for the Next Season workshops anywhere in the world!

🙂 

Are we excited?  You’d better believe it. 

For more information before the launch, just send us an email.  We’d love to catch up.

 

Possibilitarian

Reading much of the content for the sector online and on social media recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the future of ageing and aged care is bleak. There is no doubt that the sector is having challenges- particularly around administrative costs, different funding models, consumer driven approaches and legislative directives.

Aside from that, we know:

People who are ageing have more chronic health issues than younger people
The number of informal carers has begun and will continue to decline
The incidence of dementia is higher in older adults
There is a shrinking tax base
We are at risk of viewing everyone over the age of 65 with a use by date which has come and gone or of putting all people over the age of 65 into a homogenous group of expensive, passive service users. It’s the ‘ageing tsunami’ come to life.

Whilst the reality of caring for the most vulnerable in the community is a very real issue, time needs to be spent in thinking about the strengths of older people and what they bring to the conversation about their future- how they live and how they wish to be supported.

The Aged Care Roadmap says that there is a reluctance by older people to discuss and plan for their future aged care and that it is important to change societal attitudes, culture and behaviour about aged care so that older people will engage in the discussion earlier.

This is not an easy task, but necessary for empowerment of consumers. Some may believe this is a Pollyanna perspective. I prefer to think of it as Possibilitarian and there are others who have a similar view.

The possibilities

It is possible to engage with older people to ask what they really want as they age. It is possible to view people who are ageing as the largest pool of collective community knowledge and social capital that we’ve had in history. Before we start talking about ‘care’, can we talk about community, and the type of interventions which might benefit prior to any ‘care’? I would suggest a conversation about specific interventions including:

Work
Social participation
Preparing for the next season of life (not ‘retirement’, rather a transition out of full time work and into other valued roles).
Promotion of health and mobility
Appropriate housing
Access to information
People want to live life the way they always have in an environment of their choosing. That means living, making choices, deciding for themselves, as they have done throughout their lives.

Where to start?

In order to empower consumers to prepare for the future, the opportunity is to listen today. Listen to the positive ageing movement which is beginning to gain pace. Listen to consumer groups outside of the aged care system in what they want and hope for as they age. Consider community interventions which rely on the social capital of communities for governance and development. Look for and encourage innovation- not just by organisations but by consumers themselves. Look into coproduction and facilitated peer discussions for future service direction. This is the time to start to shape the future together.

Reaching out to consumers and creating connections is the start of a beautiful relationship.

A Great Senior’s Week!!

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Here we are at the end of Senior’s Week and what a week it’s been!

We were happy to meet up with you at the Have a Go Day at Burswood on Wednesday.  Those of you who were there would have had a great day in the sun, having a go at many activities and speaking to us about Planning for the Next Season.

Whilst not officially in Senior’s Week, we also were thrilled to meet up with you at the Rockingham Senior’s and Carer’s Expo.

I can’t wait to see you in workshops in Perth in the New Year and hear how you are Planning for the Next Season!

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Ring or e mail us for information about our workshops in the New Year at melissa.young@thenextseason.com.au or 0400 248 655.