ACSA: Exploring the possibilities of aged care

Aged and Community Services Australia’s (ACSA) upcoming national conference will give industry leaders plenty to think about.

To find out more about the upcoming conference, read an exclusive event preview in AAA’s recently released September/October magazine.

An innovative blend of presentations including a MasterChef-style cook-off judged by culinary icon Maggie Beer, a ‘Grey Transfer’ marketing panel discussion and a Productivity Commission consultation will feature in Aged and Community Services Australia’s (ACSA) upcoming national conference.
The Twenty10 conference aptly themed, ‘Explore the Possibilities’, will be held in Hobart, Tasmania at the Hotel Grand Chancellor from Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 September.

Aged care’s answer to MasterChef will take centre stage as three Tasmanian aged care chefs engage in a battle of the utensils to produce the best aged care meal they can, using a key ingredient and a mystery box.

The meals will be presented to a panel of expert judges including the nation’s most loved cook and Senior Australian of the year, Maggie Beer.

One of the main messages of the conference is expected to come from international keynote speaker and citizen empowerment expert, David Hunt, who will discuss the ways in which the ageing community can express its power through strong coalitions and collaboration.
According to Mr Hunt, ‘power’ is far from being a dirty word: “Too often, we talk about power as if it’s negative or even evil,” he said.

“If a person speaks about power, they are called an egomaniac and you know how the saying goes: ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

“Almost every saying we have about power is one of negativity, but to succeed as individuals and community, we have to be comfortable talking about power.

“But we need to understand that power is neither good nor bad – it depends how it is used.”

To ensure that the ageing community has a sense of power, Hunt believes older people, consumer groups and aged care organisations need to collaborate and form coalitions.

He said that through coalitions, individuals and groups can boost resources, share ideas and build better relationships. But attempts at cooperation backfire when people don’t pull their weight or there is an unequal distribution of power.

“If you want to have strong and healthy coalitions and collaborations there are three fundamental things you have to get right. The organisations involved have to be clear about the goal of the collaboration and they need to be able agree to it – it has to be something that benefits each organisation in a tangible way.

“The second thing that has to be clear is what each group wants to get out of the coalition for themselves. What are their organisational self interests? Do they want more money, more members or more recognition? Lastly you need to consider what each organisation is willing to put into it. How much money? How much time? What level of transparency and accountability will there be?”

Mr Hunt recommends that the sector also become more confident about asking the government for what it needs so that eventually, it is able to get what it wants.

“You need to put your case in a way that is not seen as begging, but as something that seniors deserve, based on their contribution to society.”

Finally, providers must work towards changing society’s attitudes towards older people.

“It may take many years to do that. We need to redefine the importance of the role of the aged in our society or else they will just be shunned.

“We haven’t created a safe and sacred space for them to share their stories and a culture where their voices are heard. Because of that, older people remain invisible.”

ACSA’s National Conference Twenty10, ‘Explore the Possibilities’, will be held in Hobart from Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 September. Click here for more details.

Tags: aged-and-community-services, aged-care, david-hunt, explore-the-possibilities, maggie-beer,

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