Shepparton: End of Life Care: Looking at what we would not want to

On Wednesday 20 June 2018, at Eastbank Centre in Shepparton, Council of the Ageing, and City of Greater Shepparton presented Unspoken: (What will become of me?); a full house presentation which explored themes of ageing, declining capacity, diminished autonomy. Those attending learned much about the Advanced Care Plan and heard of practical examples of the need for this plan.


Aged Care Needs

Shepparton Interfaith Network often encounters cross-cultural issues and needs. The Interfaith Network is also often presented with the issues of Aged Care in different cultures and different religions. Some have done excellent work, others – regretfully – have done nothing. Where culture is practised with some strength, the extended family prevails and an inbuilt form of Aged Care in the extended family is nurtured.

In our now very diverse population, there are challenges of ageism (occurring at different ages in different settings), language challenges and problems of illiteracy which are closely linked to low levels of ability to work with abstract concepts. It was clear that we can’t all be experts but we can approach people with empathy and sensitivity regardless of their background and with an awareness of difference that doesn’t always regard the other as the one different from so called “normal”. In Ageism – that is – our ageing population, we experience diversity, migration, have issues relating to childhood and for some, there is disability.

Racism and discrimination are experienced in seeking care, services and accommodation with regard to ageing. Some organisations will need to face their legal liability and build a new cultural competence. There is a need for values realignment and the need to see questions and issues from the point-of-view of the aged. A new sensitivity training is needed along with cultural competence.

Advance care planning

Advance care planning helps the people close to you know what is important to you about the level of healthcare and quality of life you would want if, for some reason, you are unable to participate in the discussions.

Discussing and writing down your wishes for future care will help the person you choose as your medical treatment decision maker to feel more comfortable about the decisions they make on your behalf.

A guide to advance care planning

It is recommended that you take several steps to make sure your wishes are known in case you become sick and unable to make your own decisions. These include:

  • Think about your wishes for future care.
  • Have the conversation.
  • Consider appointing someone to be your medical treatment decision maker.
  • Write your wishes down in an advance care directive.
  • Give your advance care directive to others.
  • Review it regularly or when your situation changes.

Take Control – a guide to advance care planning

Take Control is a free guide you can download from the Office of the Public Advocate website. 

It includes the information and forms you need to appoint a medical treatment decision maker, complete an advance care directive or make an enduring power of attorney.

A concise summary of the Advanced Care Directive is found on the website of the Office of the Public Advocate.


Medical Treatment Act Legal

This presentation provides an overview of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016, including information related to values directives, instructional directives, appointing a medical treatment decision maker, appointing a support person and the new legal obligations introduced by the Act. Presented by Dr John Chesterman, Manager of Policy and Education at the Office of the Public Advocate



Death of A Partner

During the past two years COTA worked with the Energy and Water Ombudsman, Victoria and the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages to bring about systematic change that will make a practical difference for people following the death of a partner.

The Death of a Partner booklet was developed by COTA Victoria to help people navigate those legal, financial and administrative requirements after a partner’s death. COTA obtained funding from Victoria Law Foundation to develop this series of information sheets in plain English.

Death of a Partner was launched on Wednesday, May 16, at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages office, 595 Collins Street, Melbourne. You can download this booklet here.


New resource for older LGBTI people

Victoria’s older LGBTI community now has resources to help with end-of-life planning following the recent launch of Safeguarding the End of the Rainbow: A guide to help LGBTI people in Victoria plan an end-of-life of their choice.

The Minister for Housing, Disability & Ageing, Mental Health Equality and Creative Industries, the Honourable Martin Foley launched the resource at Allens lawyers in Melbourne, who kindly donated their city office venue and catering for the occasion.

The event was also attended by Commissioner for Seniors Victorians Gerard Mansour.

Minister Foley spoke powerfully about the need for older LGBTI Victorians being supported in their end of life choices. Ian Gould, of the Gay and Lesbian Foundation Australia, reminded attendees of the important role played by philanthropic giving. Justice Connects’ Faith Hawthorne described the legal and personal challenge for clients when they don’t plan ahead. Transgender Victoria’s Brenda Appleton spoke movingly of her personal experience of a friend who upon her death was dressed, spoken about and memorialised as a man because her family didn’t accept that she was transgender. Martin Anthony, of Allens, described the work done by the firm in taking a leadership role to be LGBTI inclusive.





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