Over the last twelve months COTA WA has evolved to meet the needs of the growing cohort of seniors in the community.
This has been recognised by the State Government with the recent announcement by WA Minister for Seniors Hon. Mick Murray that COTA WA has been appointed as first ever Vulnerable Seniors Peak in Western Australia. This role will see us focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged seniors to ensure that all Western Australia seniors have equal access to information and support services.
A great example of this is the COTA WA At Home Guide which was launched by Minister Murray on June 25. This initiative was made possible with sponsorship from the Bethanie Group and is supported by Department of Communities – and although conceived in response to COVID-19, will act as an ongoing companion for many seniors who spend much of their time at home or in isolation. Our Chief Policy Officer Chris Jeffery led this initiative and appears in the At Home video as the host.
One of our key learnings from this period of isolation is the magnitude of the ‘digital divide’ indicating just how many people are not active users of technology such as social media, email, mobile phones or the broader internet. For this reason, we created the At Home guide in different formats – a 45 minute video and a 45 page printed guide. The guides are being distributed through local councils but there is also a downloadable version and a link to the video on our website: https://www.cotawa.org.au/the-at-home-guide
We have recently refreshed our website to make it more user friendly and we’ve added some new portals including Elder Abuse, COVID-19 Information and our Library. Let us know what you think, we’d love to get your feedback.
The COTA WA Team have recently returned to the office after three months working from home. And for us, like many of you, getting back to ‘normal’ will take some time as we find our new daily routine. Programs such as Strength for Life (formerly Living Longer Living Stronger) and Mall Walking are now active again and we encourage you to reconnect with friends through these activities.
COTA WA delivers an Aged Care System Navigators program in collaboration with local councils and we are in the process of talking with councils to reschedule these presentations over the next twelve months. You can also pick up a copy of the At Home guide at these sessions.
Finally, I hope you take the time to tell us how you are coping with life during and after the COVID-19 crisis. This information will help us to understand your challenges throughout this period and what information and services we need to provide to support seniors. We plan to run this survey each quarter to enable you to have your say about how the pandemic has affected and continues to impact your life. You can take our short survey: www.cotawa.org.au/SeniorsVoice1
Christine Allen, CEO