Carers are often under-appreciated; they provide essential care to vulnerable people. The 2018 Carers NSW Survey reported that over 900,000 people in NSW are unpaid carers, with 79% being women. At least 11% of identifying carers are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and over 36% are over 65. The challenging reality of caring is regularly overlooked and deserves greater focus.
After the success our November 2018 forum Women, Ageing & Disadvantage, we received funding from Family and Community Services to host a similar event in Women’s Week. Six short videos were developed from the footage of the November event to continue our conversation into the challenges facing older women, with a particular focus on the experience of carers from different cultural backgrounds. These were shown at the 6th of March forum in Bankstown – Women, Ageing & Disadvantage: Caring in Cultural Contexts.
Opening the day was the Honourable John Ajaka, President of the NSW Legislative Council and former Minister for Ageing, who provided a warm welcome and shared his personal caring experiences.
Among the panellists were representatives from the Islamic Women’s Association Australia, Multicultural Communities Council Illawarra, Carers NSW, Bankstown Older Women’s Network and Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council. All speakers engaged in a lively discussion surrounding caring issues, including the need for cultural training for carers, the difficulty in accessing carer support and respite services, and policies that are needed to improve outcomes for older women carers.
The audience also asked the panel questions, with a key theme being lack of knowledge around how to access care services.
More than 70 people attended the forum, and the feedback was very positive. One attendee said they particularly enjoyed the “diversity and quality of panel members and audience. We were given a broad view of current social welfare issues in a multicultural and changing population.”
Diana Bernard from Seniors Rights Service said it was a “wonderful forum with such diverse partner organisations and participants, enabling us to drill down on significant issues.”
Seniors Rights Service is planning to take this forum to rural towns in New South Wales in May.
For more information, or to book a forum, contact Seniors Rights Service on 1800 424 079 or visit our website.
View and download the FREE video kits here.