Please note, “Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers” includes everyone who spent time in care between 1920 and 1990.
Guest Post: Fran Lovell (Program Manager) and Meg Schwarz, (Project Officer and Forgotten Australian), Real Care the Second Time Around.
Helping Hand’s ‘Real Care the Second Time Around’ project aims to respond to the aged care needs of Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers.
Many of these children experienced emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse in institutional and / or out of home care as children. Now as older adults, they have a morbid fear and anxiety about the potential of entering aged care facilities.
The Real Care the Second Time Around Project, in collaboration with project partners Flinders University, Relationships Australia South Australia and a Co-design Forum of up to 20 people who identify as Forgotten Australians/Care have identified the barriers to entering aged care for this group. They include:
- Lack of awareness and understanding of the aged care sector, and confusion about how to seek aged care support
- Distrust of institutional settings, health systems and government
- A lack of understanding by aged care providers about trauma, its impact, and the past experiences of Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers
- A lack of perceived and real flexibility in institutional settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities
- The lifelong impact of Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers’ past trauma, including:
- Low literacy levels for some, with difficulty filling out forms and feeling ashamed
- Not wanting to be separated from a loved companion (e.g. pet)
- Fear of not “fitting in”
- Having to keep repeating traumatic life stories
- Feeling trapped and out of control
- Loss of identity, independence and privacy
- Fear of having to abide by a strict regimen, e.g. set mealtimes, which can trigger a traumatic response
A diverse range of initiatives have been delivered by the Real Care the Second Time Around Project Team and Partners to support both Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers to access aged care and the aged care sector to understand and engage with this group. These include the facilitation of aged care workshops (including advance care planning and enduring power of attorney) and forums, trauma-informed care training and resources to help aged care providers to support Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers. The following resources have been developed through this project:
- A brochure with ten questions that Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers can ask when looking for residential aged care accommodation. Click here to download the brochure.
- A publication to assist aged care providers with practical tips, information and resources when working with people who identify as Forgotten Australians / Care Leavers. Click here to download the booklet.
- A publication to assist aged care providers to support their clients to develop their own About ME one page profile. Click here to download the booklet.
For more information, see: https://www.helpinghand.org.au/about-us/diversity-inclusion/forgotten-australians/