People attending a community education session in the Alpine Shire

Alpine Health Services drives elder abuse education

Alpine Health Services, formed in 1996, spans three sites at Myrtleford, Mount Beauty and Bright and is nestled in one of the most picturesque regions in Victoria. Home to some of Australia’s best wine-growing districts and snow country, including Dinner Plain, Falls Creek and Mount Buffalo National Park, the area covers 4,788 square kilometres. In autumn, the area is renowned for its striking autumn colours with many of the trees lining the roads taking centre stage.

The Alpine Shire is also home to an increasing ageing population with a third of the total population of about 12,000 people (2016 Census) is over 60. Growing older in the area doesn’t mean being idle. Many of the locals are involved in different activities and events, including hiking, volunteering and actively advocating for the rights of older people.

Services and the community reflect the increasing ageing population in their client base and participants. So it’s no wonder that as part of the Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence Program, Alpine Health Services requested the assistance of Seniors Rights Victoria to deliver elder abuse professional education complemented with community education for seniors.

Seniors Rights Victoria has had a long association with Alpine Health, including the training of volunteers for the Alpine Aged Advocacy Service when it was first formed some years ago. Alpine Health has also hosted several community forums at which Seniors Rights Victoria presented on elder abuse and prevention.

Lisa Neville, the Health Promotion Officer at Alpine Health, was the dynamic force behind the latest request for elder abuse education. Lisa said her reason for requesting Seniors Rights Victoria to deliver the education was because ‘our staff will benefit from your vast experience, discussions and case studies’.

In February, there were three professional education sessions delivered, one at each of the sites, and two community education sessions. Evaluations indicated that as a result of the professional education staff’s knowledge and confidence in responding to elder abuse increased and seniors, who attended the forum, took away new information on planning ahead which they said they would use in future plans.

Please note: Our Community Education Coordinator, Gary Ferguson, has cancelled all community education sessions until the end of April.  We will review the situation after Easter and provide you with further information as soon as we can.