New Year Wishes 2020

Looking to the challenges and opportunities of the coming year

The bushfires in many parts of country South Australia - and indeed across Australia - have been a terrible way to start 2020 and their impact will continue to be felt for a long time. Older South Australians are very much in the firing line - as victims, as front line first responders, as part of the enormous outpouring of volunteer support and as those people who will begin the process of rebuilding the affected communities. Our country communities are disproportionately older with 44% of country SA aged over 50. There are many ways of helping those impacted by the fires and of contributing to the rebuilding and recovery effort - find more information here. We still have a long, hot and dry summer ahead of us and we would love your feedback about ways that COTA SA might help support older people and recognise their efforts.

When referring to our visual acuity, 2020 is perfect vision. And so with COTA SA our perfect vision for modern ageing in this state will require a big focus on attacking ageism. We will continue to challenge it (whether directed at young or old) wherever we find it. This includes supporting EveryAge Counts, a national campaign to tackle the ageism faced by older Australians. Find out how you can get involved and take the pledge at the EveryAge Counts website.

We will also continue our emphasis on connecting with older South Australians in country areas as an ongoing priority. Following our Country Listening Posts last year, we will extend our reach into country SA including through a range of activities and events in partnership with Beyond Bank in Victor Harbor - keep an eye on our website and social media for exciting developments.

The Community Visitors Scheme launched late last year and we're looking forward to connecting more volunteer visitors with older South Australians who'd love a cuppa and chat over shared interests. We are promoting this campaign in 2020 as ‘COTA Visitors', please get behind this great initiative and help to reduce loneliness in our communities

The Plug-in community grew in size and influence in 2019 and the team took on a wide variety of projects with new partners. In 2020 we look forward to welcoming even more new influencers who will help shape the future of modern ageing through diverse projects - we'd love you to be a part of it.

Our modern ageing festival, ZestFest, stepped it up a notch in 2019 as Ita Buttrose AC OBE headlined the event with her Oration at Adelaide Town Hall. ZestFest will be back in 2020, launched during SALA and then running from 17 - 31 October. We are flat out now preparing the 2020 line-up of curated and community events.

2020 will see Strength for Life continue to grow its reach in SA, with new centres opening each month. We are also excited to join other state and territory COTAs to kick off new programs and new branding across Australia.

COTA SA offers a range of help for older people to connect with My Aged Care. In many country areas, trained, local, volunteer peer educators offer advice and practical support to older people and their families to get them started. As well our Aged Care Navigator trial means our specialist support worker will particularly help people who are struggling to connect and make sense of My Aged Care.

We look forward to extending our relationships with LGBTI elders through our Rainbow Hub programs, services and activities as well as continuing to deliver the Silver Rainbow LGBTI Aged Care Awareness Training to even more aged care providers. The Hub also actively contributes to COTA SA's policy and advocacy in relation to the things that matter to the older LGBTI community.

Our COTA SA Policy Council will be looking at the issues that are of particular concern to older South Australians as well as consulting and providing advocacy through a variety of channels. 2020 will also see the release of the final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety which has been an area of focus for COTA SA's policy team.

After 10 years at 16 Hutt Street, COTA SA is reviewing its accommodation needs. We are exploring options, including moving elsewhere in the CBD, with our colleagues at COTA Insurance. We will keep you posted as decisions are made. Be assured, ease of access for older people including by public transport, is our highest priority.

We would love to hear what your priorities are for 2020. COTA SA is an older people's movement, and we welcome comments or suggestions at any time. If you would like to contact us:
Phone: 08 8232 0422 or 1800 182 324 for Country Callers
Email: cotasa@cotasa.org.au
Postal Address: GPO Box 1583, Adelaide SA 5001