Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

The Second National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights


Elizabeth Drozd
Director, Australian-Polish Community Services Inc, Victoria

Polish Elderly: Issues and Challenges for the Next 10 Years

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 service providers.

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.

Presentation Type
30 min. Paper

Equipment Requirements:


Deakin Woolstores Campus, Geelong Waterfront
30 November - 1 December 2001