Church needs to fight ageism

Church needs to fight ageism

Synod 2021 has committed to stand with Uniting and Wesley Mission to advocate on behalf of older people and their families and carers.

Through Wesley Mission and Uniting, the NSW and ACT Synod is one of the largest providers of Aged Care in Australia. The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care has highlighted the need for reform in the way that older people are cared for and supported in Residential Aged Care and Home Care.

Wesley Mission CEO and Superintendent, Rev. Stu Cameron, said that 7 August was Aged Care Workers Day and it was timely to bring this report to Synod.

“It is simply an invitation to stand with us … in advocating for some of the most vulnerable and often undervalued people in our society,” he said. 

Uniting NSW/ACT Executive Director, Tracey Burton, said that while some of the recent announcements outlined by the Commonwealth Government were to be welcomed there was still much to do to repair a broken system.

She said one key issue was the adequate funding of aged care workers and this funding could only come from the government.

The report presented to Synod also highlighted that there was much still to do in Australia to address the underlying issue of Ageism.

“Our society’s commitment to care for older people should reflect how we value the dignity and worth of all those who are cared for, as well as those who do the caring,” the paper said.

“Aged care services in Australia too often fall short, failing our elders as well as younger people who care for them informally or as paid care workers. These carers are mainly women on lower incomes, often from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”

The paper said that in recent years, there had been about 20 reviews into Aged Care, with successive governments, providers and the wider community failing to respond and take the requisite action.

“At the core of this failure is ageism. We believe that ageism is contrary to Christ’s invitation to the ‘fullness of life’ for all people. We celebrate the success of the It’s time to care about aged care campaign, which has encouraged the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission.”

“We will continue to advocate to government to further these outcomes and we encourage congregations to support this advocacy in their community through the It’s time to care about aged care campaign, and by supporting Uniting Friends of Ageing (an initiative of UCA to seek to engage congregations in showing their local MP they care about aged care and continue to press for reform).

“Additionally, we will explore how Assembly might pursue further policy development, particularly as it relates to sustainably funding aged care in the future.”

Martin Thomas

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