If there is a positive to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s been the heart-warming stories of how families or communities have reached out to support the most at risk during the crisis period. Sometimes, it’s those who we perceive to be the most vulnerable who surprise us with their stoicism and wisdom.

Feedback from our older generations have told us that they are doing OK emotionally, and that they are appreciative of the support they have received, whether it be shopping services, phone calls or family/neighbourhood interactions. When it comes to a crisis, our seniors have a wealth of life experiences to draw on including recessions, religious and ethnic persecution, world wars, migration, racism and other pandemics such as diphtheria and polio. In many cases families and younger generations, have turned to an elder for guidance and reassurance during these uncertain times.  In this edition we are honoured to feature Beryl Dixon, a proud Noongar woman who shares her story and the pride she feels in her family. You can read our special feature here: www.cotawa.org.au/2020/09/special-feature-five-generations-of-kates-home-kids-stolen-generations-and-descendants/

Do you have an uplifting story about how a senior has been a champion over the last few months? We’d love to hear from you: policy@cotawa.org.au

The Public Awareness campaign on the Prevention of Elder Abuse commenced on 30 August and will run until October. We aim to each around one million people across the state through a TV commercial which is being aired on Channel 7 (and its regional affiliates), a Facebook campaign and advertisements in The West Australian. You can view our TV commercial on our Youtube: https://youtu.be/VVJMbRaI8Ag and you can find more information on our website: www.cotawa.org.au/elder-abuse/

Elder abuse is everyone’s business.

There is one issue that has been highlighted by the pandemic that we as a sector are focused on; the great ‘digital divide’.  It has become evident that many seniors prefer information in a written format rather than electronic. Our most recent survey into how our seniors are faring found that 84.5% of people preferred staying up-to-date with COVID information and services via traditional print media or television. This is the main reason that the COTA (WA) At Home Guide has been so popular. But there is still more work to do. In particular we are aware of the need to also have information translated into other languages. As a multicultural society there are many languages spoken in our community and those who do not speak English are at a particular disadvantage when critical information is being provided. We are currently exploring solutions to ensure that all seniors have equal access to information.

The COTA (WA) Aged Care System Navigator presentations have resumed. We deliver these sessions in conjunction with local councils so if you, or anyone you know, would like more information on how to access aged care services please come and join us at one of our upcoming sessions. You can find a list of upcoming presentations on our website.

At COTA (WA) we are busy preparing for Have A Go Day and gearing up for Seniors Week in November. While COVID-19 has made it impossible to run the Seniors Week Awards and the Community Grants scheme in the usual format, Minister for Seniors Mick Murray is still keen to  acknowledge and celebrate seniors during this important week  and we will share more information on the 2020 program in our next edition.

With the warmer weather upon us, we are in the enviable position of being able to get out and about with minimal COVID-19 restrictions. I hope you take the opportunity to stay physically and socially active.

I look forward to seeing you at one of our programs or events soon.

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Christine Allen, CEO