More than 100 state and local government services staff attended free Age Friendly Services Staff Workshops to prepare for Age Friendly Services Week from 1-7 October 2022.

Supported by Office for Ageing Well, SA Health, as an action of South Australia’s Plan for Ageing Well 2020-2025 and facilitated by Socially Connected Solutions, workshops enabled attendees to share knowledge and interactive activities, designed to increase understanding of the needs of older customers.

Participants focussed on creating innovative and more inclusive age friendly services, referring to the Guide to Age Friendly Services. They used age friendly tools, including the online Self Reflection Tool to highlight and celebrate existing good practice and identify gaps where improvements could be made.

Age Friendly Guides (older volunteers) were recruited and throughout the workshops shared valuable insights, for example their diverse life experiences as customers and examples of services they value. Participants ranged in age from 20 to over 70 which created rich intergenerational discussion around the detrimental impact of ageism.

The workshop activities emphasised the importance of genuine consultation with older people in the design and development of services and provided a reminder that people over 50 years are diverse, with ‘one size fits all’ solutions highly unlikely to be effective.

Staff were motivated to use their increased knowledge and skills to then participate in Age Friendly Services Week that encouraged services to seek feedback from their customers to improve the age friendliness of their service. Customers aged over 50 completed over 400 surveys on the age friendliness services received during the Week.

“Seeking ongoing feedback from customers is the most effective way to improve services and ensure they are inclusive. Taking the initiative as customers to seek out the process to show appreciation for great services and provide ideas for improvements will make a difference,” said Annie Campbell, Principal Consultant, Socially Connected Solutions and Age Friendly Services Workshop Facilitator.

“That workshop participants of all ages invested time to come together, openly recognise opportunities to improve their services, enhance the enjoyment and wellbeing of older customers and ensure access to fit-for-purpose services, is truly wonderful,” she said.

The Age Friendly Services project is an initiative of Office for Ageing Well, SA Health.