Annamarie Newton recently completed her vocational placement with COTA Queensland. Steph Power, Research Assistant at COTA Queensland, sat down with Annamarie to talk about her placement.
Annamarie, you have been assisting our administration, policy and research teams – of all the topics and research you have worked across in the last eight weeks with us, we have seen that health and transport continue to be key issues especially in the lead up to the election.
What do you feel needs to be done to improve access to health systems and supports?
Allow bulk billing on all medical services to see a GP, dental, optical and any other specialist services. This will mean customers/clients/patients are being seen when ageing/medical issues arise and are less costly compared to waiting until the issues raised become life altering.
What do you think would make transport more accessible for older adults with mobility considerations?
To have clearly defined definitions around what constitutes mobility and mobility assistance so that workers in public transport know exactly how and when to aid older adults. Currently, this can be illustrated by enabling older persons access to use the front door on buses to enter and disembark now that most COVID restrictions have been relaxed.
What have you found to be the most fascinating or interesting information or resources or topics you’ve seen pop up in the last two months for older adults (internationally or nationally)?
The Loneliness Project http://thelonelinessproject.org/, a Canadian initiative, is a collection of personal stories about loneliness that aims to help people develop compassion for others and themselves. Anyone can share their story — personal stories cover a range of topics related to loneliness, and some discuss strategies that are helping them build new connections.
I am so passionate about this resource as I believe this can be adapted and utilised in the Australian context such as youth and mental health, First Nations, or any other similar category.
Another topic concerns the aspect of Advocacy and how there is no specific qualification to meet best practices and a formal standardisation across industries. If governments are going to provide funding, then there needs to be a formal qualification.
I have one more question: What have you enjoyed most about your placement with COTA Queensland?
The challenge of turning my thinking from individual advocacy to the big picture of systematic advocacy.
Developing and refining research questions and ideas aimed at the ageing population and stretching commonly held viewpoints and beliefs.
Being given the leeway to expand the inhouse database system with what I believe will become a trend and/or an issue.
Thank you. We have really appreciated your perspectives, the knowledge sharing and insights that you have brought to COTA Queensland.
On the topic of loneliness, did you know that COTA Queensland will be participating in the upcoming Australian Loneliness Dialogue? Check out more information here including access to the event program or register to attend on 17 May 2022.