23 March 2020
This was supposed to be ACT Seniors Week 2020, a time to celebrate the many wonderful older women we have the privilege of working with. Unfortunately, with the current health crisis, Council of the Aging (COTA) ACT was forced to make the difficult decision to postpone the celebrations.
With our older populations particularly at risk of COVID-19, it is important that we continue to consider their unique needs in this difficult time. The implementation of social distancing could leave many of our older Canberrans feeling isolated and alone. But there are still ways we can help vulnerable people in our community without exposing them to further risk. Consider some of the suggestions in our blog post, like checking in over the phone or offering to deliver groceries to their doorstep.
We’re proud to help older women in our community continue to live full lives through our housing and support services for those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
This includes our Next Door program, tailored specifically to the needs of women age 50 and over, and the ladies who live in our Betty Searle House and Lady Heydon House.
Next Door is unique—there’s no other service in the ACT that is designed specifically to provide holistic housing support for women age 50 and over. The program empowers older women to access and maintain affordable, appropriate and safe homes in the ACT. This may include finding them a home, helping them to maintain their existing tenancies or providing them with support to access the services and help they need to live the life they choose, in dignity.
Next Door works with older women because we know they are the fastest growing cohort of people facing homelessness in the ACT and around Australia. Traditional gender roles and the gender pay gap mean that many women are not as financially independent as their male counterparts. While many women have conventional and stable housing histories, as they reach older age their circumstances can change dramatically through no fault of their own.
Our goal is to nurture and empower older women to overcome the challenges, trauma and inequality they have experienced in their lives and build their resilience, independence and wellbeing.
Through the program, which launched in June 2019, we have already been able to help 57 women.