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Care of older people from the margins at #MissionRenew - Stephen Schmidtke

“It is not just a question of doing something for older people, but also of accepting them in a realistic way as partners in shared projects — at the level of thought, dialogue and action.” – Saint John Paul II
From caring for our young to ministering to the older people at the margins, an upcoming conference will cover the gamut of issues impacting on our society and the Catholic agencies (and others faith-based providers) at the coalface of hardship and disadvantage in our community.
In a world of change, Catholic social services are not, in the words of Pope Francis, ‘immortal, immune or indispensable’. Aged care providers are under particular kinds of pressure, and face opportunities and challenges in a rapidly changing social sector environment.
Volunteers are looking for fulfilling opportunities; and the potentials for engagement between generations are not insubstantial. How to best engage with a workforce in a working environment that presents particular kinds of challenges?
Models and sources of funding are changing in aged care with systems like the NDIS redesigning the relationships between clients and providers in a competitive market. Various cultures have different needs as they age; with particular disadvantage being experienced by Indigenous Australians. Elder abuse, including sexual abuse is now being openly spoken about.
How can we best serve those on the outer i.e. ‘the margins’?
Stephen Schmidtke is the General Manager, Aged Care Services at Sacred Heart Mission, and is speaking at ‘REVIEW, REIMAGINE, RENEW: Mission making a difference in a changing world’ (Melbourne 24-26 February 2016).  He will lead a workshop with Marija Dragic on ‘Care of older people from the margins, a Trauma-Informed Approach’. Stephen Schmidtke, has been working as the General Manager for Aged Care Services at Sacred Heart Mission since the beginning of 2012, and is responsible for hostels and Home Care. He has been working in the health and welfare sector for more than 20 years and previously held the position of General Manager, Primary Health at North Richmond Community Health for 10 years.
Stephen joins a number of other speakers at the conference that will be of particular interest to those engaged in aged care, such as:
  • Tony Nicholson CEO, Brotherhood of St Laurence - managing sources of funding to achieve sustainable mission focus
  • Lisa McDonald Exec. Dir. Mission, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne - more than giving back: maximising the mission impact of volunteers
  • Vicki Clark former Coordinator, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry - building successful partnerships with indigenous people
  • Anne Kirwan, CEO, CatholicCare ACT - learning from the NDIS pilots Victoria
  • Robert Fitzgerald AM. Commissioner, Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse - addressing and preventing sexual abuse
  • Julie Edwards, CEO, Jesuit Social Services - hearts and minds together for action – making a difference in a changing world
  • Professor Frank Brennan sj AO, Australian Catholic University - Catholic Social Teaching in action (conference attendees only)

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