SWAMS Launches Perth-first Aboriginal Aged Care Service

Perth’s first Aboriginal Aged Care Service was launched in Mandurah this month, supplying home and community care activities, services and supports for First Nations Elders in the Bindjareb region.

The Bindjareb Elders Centre is operated by Noongar Community Controlled Health Organisation and AHCWA Member Service the South West Aboriginal Medical Service.

SWAMS Chief Executive Officer Lesley Nelson said Aboriginal community members had not been accessing the aged care services they were entitled to, so a culturally tailored and community-led model could help address this.

“27 per cent of Non-Indigenous Australians access aged care services compared to only six per cent of First Nations Elders in the south-west region of Perth,” Ms Nelson said. “SWAMS is working with the communities in this region to shift these outcomes.”

“We have been given an opportunity to build a workforce and support more Aboriginal community members aged 50 and over as part of a national aged care capacity-building project, and we are most grateful to be able to serve our community by doing this.”

“We will be drawing on the extensive experience we already have delivering services to community in the Bunbury region and wider south west.

“Our immediate aim is to assist 100 Elders by June of this year so they are receiving home and community care services. We will also work with the manager of the regional Aged Care Assessment Team to get Home Care Packages for our Elders”, she said.

SWAMS Chairperson Ernie Hill said the launch of the Bindjareb Elders Centre, located close to the Mandurah town centre, was a historic event for Noongar People.

Elder Kayleen Bennell said she was keen to access SWAMS services and spend time with people of a similar age.

“I’m very interested in using the gardening services and looking forward to the company of others and engaging more in the activities”, she said.

Aunty Kayleen is also looking for additional support around the home and assistance with taking care of her medical needs, and said she had not used any other service prior to meeting with SWAMS staff about the new Bindjareb service.

The services available at the new Bindjareb site will provide social support, group activities, domestic assistance, basic home maintenance and transport to Aboriginal community members over the age of 50. The services will also streamline the process for Aboriginal people to access aged care facilities through trusted Indigenous facilitators.