Respecting and understanding a person’s cultural identity is central to addressing their ageing needs. Instead of simply providing services, annecto engages meaningfully with communities so that aged care can be provided in a culturally-safe way.
This approach underpins annecto’s expansion to the mid north coast region of NSW. Our involvement in the area has been at the invitation of our partner Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, an organisation that was set up to support and connect KBH survivors and their families, and to address the trauma suffered by KBH survivors and the intergenerational trauma experienced by their descendants, families and communities.
Through the work of Sydney Manager Mike Hercock and Practice Leader Himanshu Singh, annecto received funding in the most recent Home Care Packages tender round to support 30 new care recipients in the Kempsey region, and as a result the local office was established in January 2017 and officially opened in May 2017.
Kerry Wade, a local Aboriginal community leader with extensive experience in aged care and community services, became involved with the Kempsey project after attending a community meeting about annecto’s launch in the region. She remarked, “I liked what I saw. annecto was honest, grassroots and simple. With those values that’s why annecto is growing.” Kerry later became the Kempsey Practice Leader and Support Coordinator – the first staff member of the new office.
The Kempsey office now employs four support workers, including three Aboriginal people, and works with 30 care recipients from the local Aboriginal community. annecto’s approach to service delivery involved creating meaningful relationships with the local Aboriginal families, listening deeply rather than presuming annecto knew the answers – and it is this approach which has provided a new choice in the area for individuals receiving packages. The individualised, community-focused approach has been warmly received, with another 30 people looking forward to receiving support from annecto.
According to Kerry, “It’s about knowing your care recipients and support workers, and each other’s values. We give our care recipients that little bit of extra support. They may not have phones or internet, or be comfortable talking on the phone to people from My Aged Care. We can help them, and we don’t make promises if we can’t come through with it. We’re known for our honesty”.