From country shows to senior expos – the team hit the road to chat with older Australians about aged care reforms

May 19, 2023

We love going on the road for community consultations. Travelling to new places, meeting new people and talking about issues that directly impact communities is exciting, and important.  

Many of us work remotely, so travelling with colleagues is also a great way to get to know people we don’t see regularly.

Over the past 3 months we’ve been on the road again, supporting the Department of Health and Aged Care to have conversations with senior Australians and other community members about the Australian Government’s Aged Care reforms. We’re visiting everything from seniors’ expos to country shows. 

Engaging people where they’re at

Our engagement approach has been a little different for this project. Rather than setting up new events and asking people to come along to meet us, we’re leveraging existing events that older people frequent. That way, we’re engaging people where they already gather.  

This has many benefits including:

  • We reach a wider range of older people and their families, not only those who are accessing aged care now but those who will in the future  
  • We are able to talk to people who wouldn’t usually attend a consultation event, in a setting and way they feel comfortable with
  • We support local events, and leverage existing resources
  • There are savings in costs that are associated with setting up your own event. 

This more informal and conversational style of engagement really appeals to us, where it’s important the community knows about what is happening, as well as getting the chance to contribute their views.  

It’s also a great way to avoid consultation fatigue. With a lot of reform happening in aged care, there are lots of ways older people might be asked to contribute to implementing the reforms, with other workshops and consultations happening to ‘change aged care together’.  Instead of adding to this, the community engagement events let people say what’s important to them and ensures they know about those other opportunities, if they want to get more involved. 

Have a go! 

With the right objective and content in mind, we encourage government and other organisations to think about this approach to complement and contribute to existing engagement activity, in our regions and communities. You might even develop some new partnerships along the way! 

Get in touch with us if we can help you out with planning or attending events to have genuine conversations with community members.

How can we help?
Eadie Hancock
Communication and Engagement Consultant
Lucy Wilson
Projects and Change Consultant