A new generation cares deeply: Age Matters Uni student placement
A University of Wollongong Public Health Student has been shadowing our Service Linkage Coordinator as part of a placement for hands-on experience.
Sophie is investigating whether a peer-led support group would be helpful for older adults affected by hoarding behaviours, which is a known mental health issue for older people. Age Matters receives a number of referrals each year for people who are at risk of homelessness due to hoarding or living in squalor.
After visiting a few clients alongside our Service Linkage Coordinator, Sophie explained that clients ‘have not been the type of people I expected to meet. They’ve been really friendly, their stories diverse and I’ve felt compelled to help.’ Of interest to Sophie is the level of ignorance across our society assuming that ‘people have lived their lives and made their choices’ placing blame on the individual. With the guidance of the Age Matters team, the experiences with clients have helped Sophie contextualise the academic knowledge and put a real person and a face to the issue.
“Everything I have seen and heard about Age Matters work has been so inspiring. It’s been reassuring to know that organisations like Age Matters exist. Older people are often overlooked and even agencies that work with older adults sometimes disempower them.’
Of particular importance is the relevance of public health to the issues the Age Matters team tackles. ‘I was particularly attracted to Public Health because of its wide impact and I can see how much disparity there is in how people access basic health services’ says Sophie.
We look forward to hosting Sophie for the next several weeks and for her contribution to creating a real program that helps support older Adults with Hoarding behaviours.
If you have an interest in a skilled volunteering role or student placement please get in touch and tell us a little about yourself.