Senior’s Week Health & Technology Forum

Safety Switches demonstration at the Health & Technology Forum

On Wednesday 21 August 2019 Co.As.It. Community Services hosted a Health & Technology Forum for Senior’s Week thanks to support from COTA (Council on the Ageing). The event was geared towards people in the community who are over 65 years of age, wishing to learn more about technology, social connections, staying active, electrical safety, POA’s (Power of Attorneys) and how to arrange an advance health directive plus much, much more. In essence, the topics were specifically designed to share knowledge that is vital to our community. Good timing, given the current state of the health system and our ageing population.

The forum was attended by over 140 guests and was held upstairs at the Gaythorne RSL from 10am until 12.30pm, followed by a lunch in the banquet room until 2pm. The guests were welcomed by eMcee Sharon Smith who is the Team Leader Care Services Coordination at Co.As.It. Community Services. The event had special guest speaker Brett Harrison, HSE Business Partner from Energex who shared information on how to ensure appliances are replaced and the importance of safety switches. Homes that are over 15 years old may not have safety switches installed.  A safety switch is an electrical safety device specially designed to immediately switch the electricity when electricity ‘leaks’ to earth at a level harmful to a human. These devices offer a high level of personal protection from electric shock.

Electrical security and safety has been a long-term concern for the welfare of the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients Co.As.It. supports. It is not unusual for our community support staff to visit homes where there are multiple adapters attached to one power board, wires snaking over floors and appliances often doubled up and running through multiple power boards. Fundamentally, it has been identified that in this target group there is a limited understanding of electric safety i.e. circuit breakers and other safety devices.  

Another special guest speaker, Antonio Palella, Principal Solicitor from PHV Law shared examples of what may happen if legal matters are not put into effect prior to the death of a loved one. He discussed POA’s, and described the importance of having a Health Care Directive. A health care directive is a document that outlines treatment decisions that a patient has asked to be followed if they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves.

Other topics included keeping active, how to maintain social connections by Laura Panarello Counsellor/Dementia Support Officer, how to access aged care by Stefania Di Lione, Regional Assessment Service and Michelle Calabro, Home Care Package Intake Leader, how to stay active by Diana Barreto, Allied Health Assistant, navigating technology and how to avoid scams by Cintia Paolino, Community Services Officer.

The event ended with generous applause as the guests were appreciative of the valuable information. Another highlight was the delicious meal of alternate offering of fish and chips and salad, or roast with vegetables, with traditional Italian music compiled by Cintia Paolino. The guests enjoyed the extra time for socializing and the Gaythorne RSL team ensured each person enjoyed their day.  

For more information on electrical safety, social connections, staying active and/or how to navigate aged care services, please contact

If your home was built over 15 years ago and you would like information about safety switches please contact

To attend FREE technology classes in Newmarket or Carina please contact

For more information on advanced healthcare directives please contact