The John Pierce Centre in Prahran recently approached COTA Victoria, looking for ways to support its Deaf senior group members to access aged care services.
For the signing Deaf community, contact with My Aged Care is very limited. Some Deaf seniors can’t read, meaning printed information is inaccessible. Those who can’t register with My Aged Care online must contact by phone, relying on the National Relay Service or help from a family member or friend. Deaf seniors must give their approval before a family member or friend can speak on their behalf. This alone can be a challenge without access to information in Auslan.
To help, we put together a presentation for John Pierce Centre staff, explaining My Aged Care and how COTA Victoria’s Age Care System Navigator team could work with the Centre’s clients. We worked with Auslan interpreters to deliver the presentation.
Again, with Auslan interpreters’ assistance, we presented directly to 45 Deaf seniors. The interactive session looked at My Aged Care, the types of support available, and how to register for services. Several attendees got on-the-spot answers to their questions, while others made appointments for more in-depth face-to-face support.
Although we discovered that several attendees were already registered with My Aged Care, they weren’t sure when or how this had happened or what services they were registered for or could access. Our Navigators were able to explain how to communicate their support needs to My Aged Care.
Working with the Deaf community has reaffirmed how important it is to offer face-to-face information in a familiar environment. We’ve also been reminded of the importance of community partnerships. According to Carmel Phillips, Executive Officer of the John Pierce Centre:
‘The knowledge and assistance the service provided our members has been invaluable. Connecting face-to-face removes the frustration often experienced when dealing with a system that is already complex. It also allows the ACSN Team to gauge that the information has been understood and our members are confident with decisions they may have to make.’
For more information about the Aged Care System Navigator service, contact COTA Victoria on 130013 50 90.
|About the John Pierce Centre
Established in 1980, the John Pierce Centre (JPC) is an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports the needs and wellbeing of approximately 500 Deaf community members throughout Victoria. The majority of its members are aged over 50 years.
The Centre’s purpose is to empower all Deaf people and their families to live their lives to the full whilst honouring the traditions of the Catholic Church.
JPC delivers a range of programs to strengthen family relationships: assisting couples preparing for marriage, families experiencing parenting or schooling issues, supporting families to access welfare and health services, running information workshops and hosting social and family activities.
JPC also provides pastoral care for the more vulnerable and hosts regular special interest groups, including groups for seniors and Deaf men, an arts and crafts group and a Deaf-friendly playgroup for toddlers.