Bank SA has trained their staff to recognise customers with dementia and to help them carry out their banking tasks more comfortably. Often there are simple solutions. For example, as reported in the Age Care Insight article, one customer started to come into the bank weekly instead of fortnightly for her pension. She would become anxious if it wasn’t pension week and no money was deposited. So they set up a system of transferring her money weekly instead of fortnightly so that she regained her confidence in being able to pay her bills. Understanding dementia is key to providing good customer service and supporting people to continue to live in the community. Find out more about the types of dementia and the warning signs, which include: confusion about time and place; poor judgement; difficulty performing familiar tasks, and problems with words. Memory loss, or forgetfulness is the most likely first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.
The ageing of the population is often talked about in catastrophic terms, but when it comes to actual catastrophes, the needs of older people are not always considered. And it is not just physical needs – fears and anxieties can make older people resistant to rescue. Australia is not immune from major disasters. We have experienced several extreme weather events this summer as well as bush fires. Fortunately we have good disaster systems ready to cope – but there is always room for improvement. A recent study shows that even in developed countries, such as Japan, older people are more likely to die in a disaster than younger people. In the tsunami of 2011, 56 per cent of those who died were 65 and over, despite this group comprising 23 per cent of the population. HelpAge International’s findings on older people and disasters are reported in Disaster Resilience in an Ageing World. Anyone involved in disaster relief or emergency service might want to check their policies and response systems for the inclusion of older people and their needs in disasters and emergency situations. There is a related article in the International Journal of Emergency Management – Recognising and promoting the unique capacities of the elderly. It also discusses how older people are at greater risk in major disasters.
If you haven’t seen an Easy Read version of an official document, have a look at the Easy Read version of the National Disability Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disability. The Australian Government is working towards better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. An Easy Read document for people who don’t actually need an it is great for getting a quick grasp of the content when reading time is short. Once again, something originally designed with a small group in mind suits a lot more people. The Australian Government’s web page has links to full PDF and Word versions, and there are audio versions as well.
Anyone interested in the philosophy of rights, inclusion and justice from the perspective of Amartya Sen’s capability approach will find Andrea Broderick’s article interesting. In this case she is discussing the right to education. In her conclusion she says, “According to Sen, the question ‘equality of what?’ is pivotal in the search for justice. As demonstrated in this article, the capability approach inspires a four-part framework based upon justice and equality of capabilities. It advocates that social structures should respond to human diversity and allow for human flourishing”. The full title of the arricle is, Equality of What? The Capability Approach and the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities.
Abstract: The right to education is indispensable in unlocking other substantive human rights and in ensuring full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in mainstream society. The cornerstone of Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities seeks to ensure access to inclusive education for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others as well as the full development of human potential. Since the adoption of the Convention, there has been much theorising about inclusive education; however, there has been little focus on the meaning of equality in the context of the right to education for persons with disabilities. The capability approach, developed by Amartya Sen and further refined by Martha Nussbaum, focuses on ensuring equality and developing human potential. It is often viewed as a tool that can be used to overcome the limitations of traditional equality assessments in the educational sphere, which only measure resources and outcomes. This article explores whether the capability approach can offer new insights into the vision of educational equality contained in the Convention and how that vision can be implemented at the national level.
High values are placed on statistics and economics. So when it comes to the topic of people with disability questions are asked such as, “So how many people are there with disability anyway?” and “Should we bother about a few people when there are so many other things to think about?” What more could statistics add (or detract) from the inclusion agenda? What kind of statistics might matter most? Who is the subject of such data and how is it collected? Who is best placed to collect such data? And who decides on the questions to be asked?
Deborah Rhodes addresses some of these issues in a thoughtful discussion paper “Monitoring and Evaluation in Disability-Inclusive Development: Ensuring data ABOUT disability-inclusive development contributes TO inclusion”. Elements of this discussion paper provide food for thought for both development projects and policy development here at home in Australia. There are some key questions at the end of the paper that should be asked as there are many unspoken assumptions that all data are good data:
- What is the most important purpose for collecting data?
- Who is determining the reason for the data collection?
- What are other purposes for collecting data (that may or may not need to be prioritised)?
- How can we ensure that the data we collect is relevant to the policy, programming and attitudinal changes that people in the specific context seek to achieve?
- What information will tell us about the specific changes involved?
- Who will actually benefit from the information generated?
- What is the opportunity cost associated with data collection, i.e. would funds needed for the survey be better spent on raising awareness or responding to local priorities for inclusion?
- Will the data help to raise awareness of the costs of exclusion?
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) oversees the funding of Australian Aid projects and has has produced guidelines on universal design for all Australian aid projects.
A new report by Per Capita about employment and older people advises that stereotyping, even if positive, is still stereotyping and not helpful for employers. Indeed, the report reminds us that ageism can be applied to any age group, but more recently it has been captured in policy agendas as a term belonging older people. The research for the report, “What’s Age Got to Do With It?“, was carried out by Philip Taylor* and Warwick Smith. The report challenges some of the notions in the Willing to Work report by the Human Rights Commission. There is an Easy English version as well. It also suggests that ageing advocates might like to rethink some of their messages.
“Age-based stereotypes (such as loyal, reliable, wise) are often used by older people’s advocates but recent research has shown that these stereotypes may be reinforcing already existing negative views of older workers among employers because these are not the traits they are primarily looking for in employees. This has potentially important implications for efforts to overcome age discrimination by employers. Not only are older workers being promoted in terms of qualities that employers are already more likely to ascribe to them, such qualities are given a lower weighting in terms of employment decisions that take account of productivity.”
*Professor Philip Taylor is a Director of CUDA
Guideline on Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: Early Warning and Accessible Broadcasting. This document was prepared with the Asia Pacific region in mind. But the principles of inclusion and how to implement them in a disaster situation are relevant to any region or country. The Guideline states it, “…is designed to address the lack of appropriate information and practices on inclusive policies and practices on disaster preparedness, accessible early warnings, accessible transportation, and life safety and evacuation of persons with disabilities.” The document was funded by UN ESCAP. The Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union, Asia Disaster Preparedness Center and GAATES collaborated on the document. With an increase in severe weather events across the world, it is important to ensure people with any kind of disability are afforded the same survival chances as anyone else no matter where they live.
The Guideline has very specific information on what is required in a given emergency situation. The PDF document can be downloaded from the GAATES website. There is a companion document, Guideline on Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction.
Cities are expanding across the globe and dictating how we live our lives. So the way they are designed is becoming increasingly important. Cities take up about 2% of the land mass but make up 70% of the economy, 60% of the global energy consumption, 70% of greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of global waste. The development of the UN New Urban Agenda has taken many years and there is a raft of documentation. The 5 page New Urban Agenda Explainer gives a more digestible overview. While the document does not mention universal design specifically, inclusion of all people to access the benefits of cities is a key theme. It also recommends a bottom up approach so that marginalised groups can participate in designing and developing urban areas.
The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the United Nations at the end of 2016, and, “… represents a shared vision for a better and more sustainable future – one in which all people have equal rights and access to the benefits and opportunities that cities can offer, and in which the international community reconsiders the urban systems and physical form of our urban spaces to achieve this.”
Centre for Universal Design Australia made a submission to the Senate inquiry on the Delivery of Outcomes under the National Disability Strategy to build inclusive and accessible communities. The submission (No. 76) is now public and available on the Australian Government website. The key points were:
- attitudes to people with disability and older people have not shifted far enough to create an inclusive society yet and more work needs to be done;
- current planning laws and processes do not guarantee inclusive performance or outcomes; and
- the needs of people with disability and older people are treated as “add-ons” in designs instead of being considered from the outset and consequently more (unnecessary) rules and regulations are needed so that designers can offset their lack of understanding.
Australian Network for Universal Housing Design also made a submission (No. 1) which is on the the Australian Government website. 92 submissions to this inquiry are now publicly available.
“Diversity is being asked to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” This is a great quote from Verna Myers. Her context is the workplace and the employment and advancement of women and people of colour. But of course, it is relevant to all other groups that are seeking inclusion. The Harvard Business Review in its article, Diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion discusses this issue. It is one thing to have a diverse population, but that doesn’t mean equity or inclusion will automatically follow. The HBR puts it in the employment context, “Part of the problem is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case. In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen.”
Editor’s note: I co-wrote a paper on inclusion being something where you have to wait for the “mainstream” group to invite you in. Inclusiveness is something that is present, it is happening now. You can see the slideshow version too which has some explanatory graphics.