Conversations With our Community (CWC) is a community based research program, sometimes referred to as the COTA Champions initiative. The project commenced in 2010, with support from the Commonwealth Government, and has more recently expanded its initial base in the Southern region of Tasmania, growing toward a state wide focus.
Historically, teams of enthusiastic older volunteers met regularly with COTA TAS, reporting on their key local issues. COTA “Champions” have had many structured and informal conversations with other older Tasmanians. These conversations (as well as surveys, focus groups etc) informed numerous reports, resources, also; underpinned information sessions designed for peak bodies, community groups, and representations to local, state and federal governments.
2016 AND BEYOND
Years of COTA Champions’ accumulated research and feedback, prompted COTA Tasmania to align this “knowledge bank” with new opportunities arising from Aged Care Reforms.
Important new initiatives, namely My Aged Care and the Commonwealth Home Support Program, provide consumers with choice and protection. In line with this, the renewed Conversations with our Community volunteer will be less research driven and move more toward a peer support role: helping people to access what they need to age well at home.
With our revitalised Conversations With our Community program, COTA TAS aims to support older Tasmanians (also their family and friends) to understand the Aged Care Reforms and how to navigate the system.
New initiatives in the Conversations With our Community program are now underway – with leaders, volunteers and influencers to
- help empower, educate and equip older people to navigate the aged care system
- develop resources for maximising choice and access
- distribute information and support people to access Aged Care programs
- make practical recommendations to government about improving choice and access.
The COTA Tas “peer to peer” Conversations With our Community program helps people to understand their rights, their obligations and their entitlements when dealing with:
My Aged Care: website and call centre portal
- Commonwealth Home Support Program
- Service providers (private and government sponsored)
- Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
COTA Tasmania is the national leader in equipping community based volunteers to spread consumer focussed messages for older citizens. For the aged care system to work, citizens need to be empowered with knowledge, the ability to ask the right questions thereby leading to real choice.
Lessons learned will be shared with all levels of Government and relevant stakeholders.