ACSA lands ageing grant
ADELAIDE: Alex Dunkin looks at a new project aimed at improving the lives of older LGBTI people in South Australia.
The AIDS Council of South Australia, ACSA, has been successful in its bid to gain a government grant for a project which focuses on the issues of GLBTI ageing.
The project, Older GLBTI South Australians; Ageing and Empowerment, is designed to build the foundations of a socially inclusive and positive view of GLBTI ageing
Chief Executive Officer of ACSA Shane Dinnison told blaze, “With many older GLBTI individuals concealing their sexuality over much of their lives and scant recognition of GLBTI issues in ageing in South Australia, this project seeks to build community connectedness and social inclusion for older members of the South Australian GLBTI communities through planned events.”
“The project, although small to start with, has a longer term aim of garnering broader support for addressing the inequalities in our aged and health care systems for older GLBTI people,” he said.
Newly appointed South Australian Executive Director of Ageing Greg Mackie said the $20,000 Positive Ageing Development Grant will fund a series of community based events across the state that provide older GLBTI individuals with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of ageing issues, connect with other people, increase their visibility and explore how the aged care sector can respond to their needs.
“Every citizen’s experience of ageing is unique. It is shaped by the people we are, the families to which we belong and the communities of friendships with whom we most strongly identify,” Mackie said.
“For most people it’s a combination of all this as well as health and well-being, financial security, where we live and whether we live alone or in other combinations.
“For those of us who identify as GLBTI people, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to understand better how to make the ‘third age’ of life as fulfilling as possible.”
Expert in GLBTI ageing from the University of South Australia Dr Jo Harrison told blaze the funding of this project is a tremendous breakthrough.
“The government is to be commended for taking this important initiative which will assist GLBTI older people to be visible, proud and empowered,” Harrison said.
“GLBTI elders have predominantly lived through an era during which GLBTI people were persecuted and subjected to discrimination and criminalisation.
“The ACSA project is critically important in that it seeks to involve older people themselves in a process of education and inter-generational communication, while challenging ageist stereotypes and increasing understandings.”
Harrison added this project will build upon the education efforts that seek to inform service providers about LGBTI aged care needs.
“Elders themselves are the experts on their own experiences and lives, which need to be celebrated and understood both within the GLBTI community and across the aged care and wider social sectors,” she said.
“The Project will also build on federally funded initiatives currently underway in South Australia and nationally, including the GLBTI Dementia Project of Alzheimer's Australia South Australia, and the recent funding of South Australian organisations to deliver aged care packages targeted to GLBTI consumers.”
For more information go to acsa.org.au