More than 700 people attended two Positive Ageing Forums hosted by Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.
The forums were held at Mount Barker and in Victor Harbor in July and attracted about 350 participants to each event where they listened to a range of speakers and visited an expo of stalls focused on supporting older citizens.
"We had a fantastic turnout for both events and I have been overwhelmed by the response from participants who have really valued the information provided about the changes in the delivery of aged care services, and what supports there are for older Australians," Ms Sharkie said.
"The national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lead-up to the Royal Commission into Aged Care has resulted in so much uncertainty in our community so I really wanted to do something to bring everyone together, to provide timely and useful information and ideas, and celebrate the positives about life as an older Australian.
"Much has happened in the aged care sector since the former Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt visited Mayo in 2018 and spoke to our community about the issues with Home Care packages and aged care facilities.
"The recommendations from the Royal Commission indicate we are going to see significant changes in how services are delivered and it's my job as Mayo's voice in Canberra to make sure these much-needed reforms are followed through."
On the South Coast, the keynote speaker was Barossa food icon Maggie Beer who, through the Maggie Beer Foundation, has become well-known for her food and nutrition advocacy for older Australians in the aged care system.
National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate Ian Henschke also spoke along with Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA (Council on the Ageing).
COVID-19 restrictions prevented keynote speaker Ita Buttrose, the ABC's Chairperson and Dementia Australia's Ambassador, from attending the Adelaide Hills forum, but among the other guest speakers at the Mount Barker event were media personality Graeme Goodings; National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate Ian Henschke; and Carolanne Barkla, Chief Executive of the Aged Rights Advocacy Service.
The forums also featured 'Think Global Act Local' speakers from within the electorate including Joanne Lauritsen from Grandparents for Grandchildren, Geoff Edwards from the University of the Third Age, and Belinda Sheldrick, a local resident who spoke about her positive experience self-managing the Home Care Package of a family member.
At the South Coast forum, Valerie Lillington spoke about her concept of a Duke of Edinburgh-style award for older Australians called Victor Challenge - Recognising our Elders; Deidre Henderson spoke about Community Café - creating more supportive communities for people living with dementia and their carers; and Hills author Dr Jenny Slape who spoke about personalised dementia care.