Director, Australian-Polish Community Services Inc, Victoria
Polish Elderly: Issues and Challenges for the Next
The Polish community in Victoria has one of the largest number
of older persons and the first to reach peak demand for support
services. Because of this and other socio-economic factors which
impede fair access to services, planning and a pro-active approach
to meeting Polish elderly's needs is of particular importance.
Polish elderly have a very low usage(4. 5%) of Home and Community
Care services and its elderly are reluctant to ask for help until
crisis occurs. At the beginning of 2001, the Australian-Polish
Community Services initiated the development of a 10-Year Polish
Aged Care Plan with assistance from Jenny Ashby and Associates.
Almost 100 people were consulted state-wide. Key findings and
actions were categorised into five areas: Support for Polish
older people living in own home, Carers, Dementia, Support for
Polish older people in rural and regional Victoria, and Residential
Aged Care. Further the Plan recommends a focus on: Advocacy,
Partnerships, Service System Resourcing - Community Education
and reducing Community Isolation, and provision of Direct Services.
The Plan has generated a significant amount of interest and can
be of value to other aging ethnic communities as well as general
For the last 10 years Elizabeth has worked, in a paid and
voluntary capacity, on a fair go for the Polish community in
Victoria. Two years ago she returned to again work for the Australian-Polish
Community Services, based the Western suburbs of Melbourne, after
working for five years with the City of Brimbank. She has a Bachelor
of Arts in Multicultural Studies and a Master of Arts in Social
Sciences which involved a comprehensive research study into the
settlement of the 1980s wave of Solidarity immigrants in Melbourne.
She has authored and co-authored a number of reports. Her latest
initiatives has been a 10-Year Polish Aged Care Plan.
30 min. Paper