Finding Out: Supporting older people to to access the right information at the right time.
A comprehensive research project undertaken by Tasmania’s Council on the Ageing (COTA) has revealed some significant gaps in the way basic information is available to older Tasmanians.
The “Finding Out – information needs of older Tasmanians” project is the second of six projects developed and delivered by COTA as part of the Tasmanian Government’s Inclusive Ageing Strategy.
More than 600 senior Tasmanians from diverse backgrounds were surveyed via online and mail surveys and focus groups.
The survey revealed that senior Tasmanians encounter significant barriers when trying to get the information they need about a range of basic, “everyday” issues. More information – and more effective access – is needed about health, transport, social activities, home help, financial advice and keeping up with changing technology.
COTA has used the survey feedback (which included a number of cost-effective or cost-neutral solutions submitted by respondents) to develop a range of easy-to-implement recommendations that focus on communication technology, physical settings and environments that invite social connection.
COTA Tasmania CEO Sue Leitch says the surveys showed that many older Tasmanians feel invisible or discriminated against, so “it’s clearly time for our treasured Tasmanian seniors to stop being overlooked.”
“Access to information is a human right,” says Mrs Leitch. “It’s often easy and convenient to define all older people as one group but the reality is they are a diverse group, with varying profiles and needs.
“Knowledge is power and it’s clear the older cohorts are significantly disadvantaged, inconvenienced and frustrated under current protocols.”
Guy Barnett, Parliamentary Secretary will officially accept the Finding Out report from COTA at an official ceremony at Parliament House on Monday 31 August at 1pm .
“I congratulate COTA for their hard work on delivering the Finding Out report,” said Mr Barnett.
“Of particular note is a poster produced as part of the project. The poster provides organisations with tips and pointers to improve communication with older people, who often seek information from sources other than the internet.
“I encourage organisations – particularly those working with older Tasmanians – to refer to this resource to help keep older Tasmanians ‘in the loop’. ”