PICACWA LASA Care & Ageing Expo: Aboriginal Aged Care facility & Community Hub

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Fortis Consulting as the WA representative of Partner’s in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICACWA) were proud to have attended and presented at this year’s Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) Care & Ageing Expo. Our partner Angela Ryder from Relationships Australia WA and Langford Aboriginal Association gave a speech on the day regarding the need for an Aboriginal Aged Care facility & Community Hub.

Kaya wer wanjoo (hello and welcome) I am Angela Ryder a Noongar Yok of Wagyl Kaip. I appreciate the opportunity to speak here today. I acknowledge the Wadjak people as the traditional custodians of this land that we meet on today. I want to share with you why we need an Aboriginal Aged Care facility and Community Hub on Noongar Country. I have four things that I want to mention.

The first being that an Aboriginal Aged Care facility and Community Hub is a critical need. Members of my community are effected by conditions associated with ageing at a much younger age. While Aboriginal people make up 3% of the population we have higher rates of disability across all age groups. Changes occurring across our community are leaving Elders without family to take on the traditional caring roles (often Elders are caring for their grandchildren). The need for a facility such as this is increasing.

Secondly, there is a need for an Aboriginal Aged Care facility and community hub that is managed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal Community; that is appropriately designed and developed – with a codesign process that gives community a voice – with cultural considerations including:

  • Aboriginal management
  • Aboriginal staff
  • Culturally appropriate food, language and environment and
  • Respect for diversity

Also, providing a supportive, safe environment to deal with the trauma experienced or passed down the generations. Minimising Elder abuse and overcoming isolation and loneliness of those Elder’s whose families have moved away is vital. A facility that supports Elders in this way would be incredible.

Thirdly, the need for a new model is strongly supported. One that includes a holistic approach that engages young people in schools and TAFEs, inclusive of cultural experiences, food and environment, storytelling, maintaining language, gardening, cooking and cultural social and emotional wellbeing activities to name a few. The model will be an innovative and holistic model that may well be the way of the future in aged care.

The hub will care for recipients at all levels of aged care. It will be a culturally inclusive model.

The fourth thing is a quote I want to share with you from a Noongar Elder in response to the question – why do we need an Aboriginal aged care facility and community hub. The response was “I will be in a culturally secure, safe place where I am with my own people, sharing stories and laughter as I grow older”. Wouldn’t it be incredible to offer Elders the level of care and safety as we (you and I) expect and deserve every day.

One final thing, it is encouraging that we have far more of our community living longer. The vision to provide culturally appropriate, age friendly and flexible care for Elders is a joint initiative between Langford Aboriginal Association (LAA) and Fortis Consulting in collaboration with Relationships Australia WA and of course Aboriginal Community. Our goal is to develop a facility to provide services to assist and enhance Elders quality of life, in good health as long as possible. We cannot achieve this without partnerships and of course resources. If you are interested in joining us on this journey please do contact us. As a previous speaker stated “it is the decent and right thing to do”. Watch this space. Thank you – Borda.