Age-friendly examples

While there are currently no World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed age-friendly practices or communities in Queensland, there are several communities with age-friendly initiatives.

Read the case studies below:

Seniors Creating Change (Townsville)

Seniors Creating Change is a grassroots group focused on older people who are empowering themselves to call for an end to elder abuse. The group sings in public places to raise awareness of the root causes of ageism and social isolation. The group was established in 2011 after receiving a grant from the Queensland Government Regional Arts Development Fund.

Its debut performance was as a ‘flash mob’ at Stockland Shopping Centre in Aitkenvale. This flash mob consisted of 30 older people. A video of the event published on YouTube has had more than 8000 hits and led to requests for performances across North Queensland. Performances have included: Harmony Day, North Queensland Museum of Tropical Queensland, Deadly Families Fun Day, World Day for Cultural Diversity, LGBTIQ Network Day, and the National Motorhome Rally.

Your wellbeing — your plan (COTA Queensland)

As part of its peer education program, COTA Queensland provided planning for wellbeing workshops run by older people for older people. The one-hour workshops encompassed:

  • the possibilities/advantages of staying well as people age
  • options for increasing wellbeing
  • getting community and aged care services on board.

The workshops assisted participants to unpack commonly used terms such as: wellbeing, active ageing, enablement, wellness and person-centred care. The workshops empowered participants by breaking down terminology and providing participants with tools to identify their priorities and goals and strategies for achieving them.

LGBTI Community Visitor Service (Queensland Aids Council)

The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) is an independent, community-based health promotion charity formed in response to the AIDS epidemic. QuAC works to promote the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people living in Queensland. QuAC is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services to provide an LGBTI Community Visitor Service. The service matches trained volunteers to visit with older LGBTI people who feel alone or isolated from their community due to health, mobility or other issues. It supports older LGBTI people to stay connected with others through regular contact with their visitor for conversation, social support and/or outings. It operates alongside, but not in place of, other in-home care and support services that clients might receive or be looking to access.

This service is particularly important for older LGBTI people who fear that their loss of independence and reliance on aged care services will mean increased encounters with service providers who do not understand or respect their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Tech Savvy Seniors

The Tech Savvy Seniors Queensland Program is a partnership between the Queensland Government (led by the State Library of Queensland with support from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors) and Telstra. This partnership is enabling older people, particularly those in regional and remote areas of Queensland, to develop the skills and confidence to use technology for socialising, accessing important services or conducting personal business.

The program is helping older people to connect to and participate in the online world, with the objective of increasing digital inclusion, helping reduce social isolation, increasing access to online government information and services, and improving awareness and resilience to online fraud and financial abuse.

The program is encouraging older people to embrace information technology by offering free training through 30 local government library services and Indigenous Knowledge Centres across Queensland (2017–18). Older people can participate in diverse training sessions, including how to use a computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone classes. The training offered is fun, hands-on, and designed to assist older people with everyday online tasks relating to shopping, banking, business, communication and recreation.

Men’s Shed Queensland

Men’s Shed Queensland provides a safe, friendly and healing environment where men (with an average age of 70) can work on meaningful projects, build their social support networks and sense of belonging. In 2014, eight Queensland Sheds were coordinated by the Queensland Men’s Shed Association to each build one letter to form the iconic BRISBANE sign for the G20 World Leaders Conference. That same year, four friends from a couple of Queensland Men’s Sheds got together with Arthritis Queensland to produce a video for men about living with arthritis.

The All Power to You video focuses on the main types of arthritis affecting men and includes broader health and wellbeing messages for men as they age.

Men’s Sheds are great examples of age-friendly practices and the arthritis video shows the power of engaging older people in change.

Age-friendly practices and communities in Australia

The following Australian Age-Friendly Practices have been endorsed by the World Health Organisation. The innovations are all listed in the WHO Global Database of Age-Friendly Practices, which includes innovations from all around the world.

Age-friendly accessible business network (City of Melville)

The City of Melville’s Age-Friendly Business (MAFAB) Network works with local businesses to implement age-friendly and accessible initiatives to support the older population, including those living with dementia and people with disability. The MAFAB raises awareness at a business level of the strategies that can be implemented to improve the customer’s experience and accessibility.

Businesses that join MAFAB are promoted on the City of Melville web page and on the MAFAB website. The City of Melville also supports MAFAB members through:

  • training and support via workshops and forums
  • access to the latest government and community initiatives
  • one-on-one meetings and support from City of Melville staff
  • information from other businesses about initiatives and strategies.

There are currently 11 MAFAB members including one local cafe that has set up a Memory Café for people with dementia, supported by Alzheimer’s Australia WA.

The Art of Ageing exhibition (New South Wales)

The Art of Ageing exhibition is a photographic display featuring older people in NSW. Each photograph is accompanied by the featured person’s story, highlighting their experiences and reflections on ageing. The photographs and stories celebrate the value, experience and contribution of older people and challenges outdated perceptions of ageing.

The Art of Ageing exhibition was officially opened in 2016 and more than 700 people attended. Feedback from attendees confirmed that the exhibition challenges negative perceptions of ageing and older people, while inspiring a positive vision of ageing. The NSW Government then called on regional organisations in NSW to hold The Art of Ageing exhibition in 2017–18. The exhibition plans to tour regional NSW.

Images from The Art of Ageing Exhibition. They feature older people painting, boxing, gardening, dancing, socialising and roller skating

 

Challenging ageism — conversations with seniors (The City of Salisbury)

The City of Salisbury partnered with the Council on The Ageing South Australia (COTA SA) for Conversations with Northern Seniors events to combat ageism and ensure older people had access to information, opportunities to be heard and responded to, and have processes in place to build their capacity to become community contributors and leaders. The conversations included bimonthly forums on diverse topics that directly affect the lives of older residents including sessions on ageism, rights, housing and road safety.

There are more than 130 registered members with 60 to 70 older people from a broad cross-section of the community attending forums. Participant feedback was exceptional, with 90–95 per cent of participants rating the forums as excellent. The information gathered at the forums informs policy development by COTA SA and guides City of Salisbury planning, particularly in the implementation of its Aged Friendly Strategy.

The Ageism Forum prompted some insightful suggestions to mitigate ageism within the community through collaborative, multilayered approaches. The key to this partnership has been the absolute commitment to reframe ageing through the engagement, participation and empowerment of older residents.

Local government professional age-friendly communities network (Western Australia)

The Department of Local Government and Communities in Western Australia has worked collaboratively with the local government sector and others to support the WHO Age-Friendly Communities Framework since 2007. This has included providing funding to 57 local governments to undertake the initial research and engagement to inform their age-friendly strategic planning. In late 2013, an age-friendly communities forum found that the sector was eager for a network to promote and support the approach in Western Australia. A further age-friendly forum and workshop followed in late 2014 and reiterated this desire. The Age Friendly Communities Network was established in 2015.

The Age Friendly Communities Network aligns with the WHO framework and approach. Membership is open to local government and State Government representatives, COTA WA and the general aged care sector.

The Network holds regular professional development activities. In 2016, the Network hosted an Age-Friendly Communities Professional Development day for urban planners and community development professionals to share their experiences, examples of best practice and ideas for solutions to current barriers that both sectors come across about seniors’ housing needs.

Seniors expo (Darwin)

The Council on the Ageing Northern Territory (COTA NT) organises an annual Seniors EXPO and invites the contribution of seniors community groups, organisations, service providers, businesses with a seniors focus and local, Territory and Australian government agencies. The event attracts almost 1000 older people and is described by the Lord Mayor of Darwin, Katrina Fong Lim, as a “very special community event”.

The EXPO’s theme is ‘age-friendly in practice’ which reflects COTA NT’s aim to help create a Territory that is age-friendly. The EXPO is fun and lively, and provides the opportunity for older people to connect with each other, the broader community, to receive and provide information about activities, services and products, and showcase what they’re doing in a ‘one-stop’ environment.

The event is supported financially and/or in kind by the Northern Territory government, local government, sponsors and participating groups, service providers and associations.

Room 105 — IT Clinic (Maroondah City, Melbourne)

Maroondah City Council and Ringwood Secondary College partnered to deliver the Room 105 pilot project whereby community members could receive free one-on-one tuition from students as part of the College’s ‘Making a Difference to the Community’ curriculum (PDF). Room 105 provided four sessions over a four-week period and 80 consultations were provided. This pilot project proved so successful that the clinic is now repeated monthly. The school provides the venue and the students and Maroondah’s Active and Healthy Ageing Coordinator manage the project by facilitating registration, matching participant needs to student capacities, and delivering advertising and marketing campaigns.

This is the first project of its kind in the area where a school is providing a free community service that is not linked to the Victorian school curriculum. It is testament to building a community where intergenerational exchange can strengthen a community in a meaningful way. With most services, products and information now only available online, the project is helping older people to access that information, products and services.

End-of-life planning (Tasmania)

The aWake Before Death (ABD) project aims to engage people of all ages in the promotion and education of end-of-life planning in Clarence, Tasmania. Stories, music and the arts are all part of the project process.

The ABD project involves a partnership between Clarence City Council’s Positive Ageing Network for service providers, the Clarence Positive Ageing Advisory Committee, the Clarence Community Volunteer Service, Fairway Rise Retirement Living Village, Salmutations — Music Therapy, Community Conversations and the Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre. The group received a Better Access to Palliative Care Program grant through the Tasmanian Association of Hospice and Palliative Inc.

The group worked together with residents over seven months conducting conversations on death and dying, grief and bereavement and end-of-life planning. A moving film clip was produced as part of a suite of resources to promote awareness of death and dying and to encourage other communities to have conversations about end-of-life planning. The kit of resources is designed by the community group to be sustainable beyond the life of the project.