Local councils are stepping up to help support older residents and other vulnerable people living in their communities.

Carol Adams

City of Kwinana, in Perth, has partnered with a local health service to hold a series of free workshops focussing on fall prevention strategies.

Accidental falls in older adults in Kwinana resulted in the greatest length of hospital bed days from injury in 2018, according to the manager of health promotion and community development at the South Metropolitan Health Service Richard Crane.

Mayor Carol Adams says the initiative is part of the City’s public health plan which identified falls as a priority health issue.

More than 15 people took part in the first Stay on Your Feet workshop which was held in partnership with Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre in September.

Emergency alarms

Sydney’s Hills Shire Council’s Hills Community Care (HCC) service, one of the few remaining NSW councils to be registered as a home care provider, has made free portable alarms available to senior citizens.

Dr Michelle Byrne

Patricia Fathers is one of 100 eligible HCCC clients to receive an alarm, which sends an alert to family members and emergency contacts with the push of a button.

“I feel there is somebody there at the other end should I need help,” she said.

“If I were to stumble or fall – there’s somebody there. I’m not alone and feel secure.”

Hills Shire Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne says the device is useful for residents opting to remain in self-isolation because of COVID.

“Ensuring our most vulnerable residents can get help when they need it, as well as keeping them connected to their local community is a top priority for this Council during this challenging time,” she said.  

Supporting people with disability

Meanwhile, City of Greater Bendigo in regional Victoria has launched a  Champions for Change project with aims to increase employment opportunities for people with disability.

The federally funded program will enable six people with disability to complete traineeships across three local government areas and produce information and resources for employers looking to recruit.

Senior Inclusive Employment Officer Alison Jones said the program was designed to provide new employment opportunities, whilst educating employers about the benefits of employing people with disability.

“We hope the program will create a legacy of further inclusive employment opportunities within not only local government but also more broadly.

“Research has identified that a significant barrier to gaining paid employment for people with a disability is a lack of work experience. Through this program, trainees will receive an opportunity to work as part of local government whilst completing a qualification.

Council has also partnered with local disability providers to produce a webinar for employers who want to know more about employing people with disability.

The webinar will be available from October 13 and will feature speakers from the Australian Network on Disability. 

Register for the webinar here and access tools and information here.

Main image: Kwinana residents at a Stay on Your Feet workshop (image supplied by City of Kwinana ).

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