What we’re up to in February

In February we are involved in over 20 events, as well as visiting many aged care facilities, retirement villages and Men’s Sheds around NSW. Here’s a snapshot of a busy month which includes NSW Seniors Festival, Yabun, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and our work with a diverse range of communities.

On Sunday 17 February Seniors Rights Service had a stall at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ Fair Day – what a great day, with thousands of people visiting the event in Camperdown. With a dog show, a disco and lots of divas and drag queens, an estimated 80,000 people attended the day. About 400 people visited our stall for a chat and to get information on how we help older LGBTIQ+ people, with many others picking up brochures, pens and bags.

Also on Sunday 17 February Seniors Rights Service Chief Executive Officer Russell Westacott gave the keynote address at the Annual Sri Lanka Association’s Seniors Dinner. This lively event celebrates Sri Lankan culture  and includes awards for high school and young achievers from Sydney’s Sri Lankan community.

Tuesday 19 February we participated in Clever Care Now Expo in Sutherland with over 250 people coming along to this public event. Our Advocacy manager Pat Joyce gave a presentation as part of a day packed with demonstrations, speakers, raffles and prizes.

Tuesday 19 February Seniors Rights Service solicitor Nalika Padmasena was very busy with two events in Blacktown. In the morning she attended Blacktown Seniors Festival where over 600 people enjoyed a Free community celebration with performances and activities for older people, their families and community members, with performances by local seniors groups, the Older Women’s Network Theatre Group, the Simply Voices Blacktown Seniors Community Choir, Greek Welfare Community Services Seniors Choir, Jannawi Dance Clan.

In the evening Nalika participated in Blacktown 2019 Women’s Forum, with an enthusiastic crowd of 100 people finding out about what contributes to a good quality of life, what challenges do women face and what changes can be made to assist women. Topics included gender economic equality, domestic violence and safety, women’s health, the challenges of ageing, diversity, disability and technology.

Meanwhile on the far north coast our regional advocate Gerard Dunlop and social support worker Kate Kennedy were at Byron Bay Community Centre Seniors Expo. The festival has information sharing, entertainment, and lots of activities, as well as hand, neck and shoulder massages being offered throughout the day.

On Wednesday 20 February we are facilitating a forum at Northern Beaches Library Manly called Legal Issues for Older People, which includes the DVD Piano Forte that explores elder abuse. This is followed by a panel discussion with one of our lawyers, Vulnerable Communities Police rep and Community Care Northern Beaches. A similar forum is happening in Chatswood on Thursday 21 February.

At another event on Wednesday 20 February we are taking part in the Family and Community Services initiated Career Check for Mature Workers expo with Dr Kay Patterson the Age Discrimination Commissioner and Tanya Davies MP NSW Minister for Ageing.

Also on Wednesday 20 February one of or advocates is presenting at Singleton Seniors Festival which encourages seniors to participate in the community and live active, healthy and social lives. A great crowd of older locals turned up to enjoy the festivities, information and demonstrations.

On Friday 22 February Advocacy Manager Pat Joyce is going along to the Nurses and Midwives Forum in Shoalhaven and the Shellharbour Multi Cultural Seniors where more than 200 Greek, Italian, Spanish and Turkish seniors will turn up to a great day of food, fun and facts.

Another event on Friday 22 February is at Campsie Library where our solicitor Tim Tunbridge will present a forum on Legal Information and Planning Ahead.

Sunday 24 February Education Manager Diana Bernard is facilitating a panel after the film screening of Becoming Colleen at Queer Screen’s 2019 Mardi Gras Film Festival. The documentary follows a person’s journey towards gender affirmation in her 80s, and her experience navigating the aged care system during her transition. Following the screening is a panel discussion entitled Diversity in Aged Care with Sandra Pankhurst – transwoman and subject of the book The Trauma Cleaner, Kate Spurway from Nurse Watch, and Russ Gluyas from ACON’s Love Project.

Monday 25 February Diana Bernard is presenting and participating in a panel in a workshop on elder abuse hosted by ARAB Council Australia in Bankstown alongside NSW Police and the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.

Thursday 28 February We are very excited to be launching our updated resource Q&A for LGBTIQ+ at LOVE Club, ACON’s social group for older LGBTIQ+ people. Opening remarks will be given by Teresa Savage a prominent community member, with one of our lawyers and advocate on hand to take questions. Find out more about  Love Club here.

Also on Thursday 28 February advocate Ray Horsburgh will be presenting to south-western Sydney sector support workers on the vulnerabilities of culturally diverse seniors at Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre.

And finally on Thursday 28 February Diana Bernard will be presenting at a forum to Botany Bay Area Command on aged related issues and elder abuse in vulnerable communities for police officers and other police staff.