Yackandandah’s community-driven approach towards aged care has been commended by an international expert in the field.
Secretary general of the International Federation on Ageing, Jane Barratt, said the North East town’s move to intergenerational care came from the grassroots rather than any top-down push imposed by government.
“In Yackandandah, they’ve seen that there is a problem or there’s an issue and community have rallied together to create solutions,” she said.
“That’s a very effective way of not only creating policy but also getting the buy-in of the community and making it work.”
Originally from Perth and now based in Canada, Dr Barratt will present on innovations around ageing well on Friday at a forum hosted by Yackandandah Health.
“The fact that they are really venturing into intergenerational programs and relationships gives me great hope that we may be able to take Yackandandah’s model and show it on the international stage and say this is how these people did it and why they did it,” she said.
The forum includes a panel involving author Jackie French, Yackandandah Health chief executive Annette Nuck and Rural Health Academic Network senior research fellow and director Helen Haines.
Ms Nuck said the service looked forward to the conversation Dr Barratt’s talk would start in communities and the health sector.
“Dr Barratt’s work is heavily focused on a wellness model, where we support older people to enjoy their life and do the things they want to do,” she said.
Yackandandah Health’s new residential building will be opened officially on Saturday.
Dr Barratt said she would explore the new narrative for growing older.
“Every older person, regardless of what condition that they may have, has a level of function and the ability to contribute to community,” she said.
“I think that we also need to remember that older people are not all the same.
“Probably only one in seven people in developed countries will ever require residential care, which means that we’ve got to develop services, not care, but services that support older people in their decision-making.”
She called ageism “the most insidious of all ‘isms’”.
“That’s rife throughout our communities around the world and it really is a barrier to older people being able to do what they want to do,” Dr Barratt said.
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