Ageing Well Team: Caroline Conlon
We caught up with one of our newest Ageing Well team members, South Australian Senior Support Planner Caroline Conlon to find out more about her, and what’s happening in South Australia for Deaf community members over 65.
Ageing Well SA Project Officer Caroline Conlon has been an active member of the Deaf community for a long time, in the creative arts as a performer and Artistic Director of Australian Theatre of the Deaf, and through her extensive advocacy, translation and service work both in Australia and overseas.
As part of Deaf Services and the Deaf Society's expansion of aged care services into South Australia, Caroline says she is excited about the possibilities of her new role.
“I’ve always been excited to be involved in the Deaf community,” says Caroline, “and I’m looking forward to the work I have ahead here in South Australia."
Caroline’s role is to work with members of the South Australian Deaf community aged 65 and over to connect and find out what services they need, in order to best approach a local expansion of Ageing Well, Deaf Services and the Deaf Society’s aged care program.
Caroline says Ageing Well provides a variety of services for Deaf seniors, including services in the home, social support, information and advocacy.
“Ageing Well can support seniors living independently through cleaning or gardening, through transport to social gatherings, as well as information and education on current issues to make sure Deaf people over 65 receive access to reliable information in their own language.”
Caroline says language, in fact, is the key to why Ageing Well is such a vital program for Deaf seniors, with all support workers fluent in Auslan and often Deaf themselves.
“It’s the best service provider for Deaf people because clients receive direct communication in Auslan,” she says. “There are lots of service providers out there, but often you will have to rely on an interpreter. With Ageing Well, you’ve got staff with the understanding of the Deaf culture, the language, the community - it’s all ingrained."
Caroline says she has thoroughly enjoyed her new role with Ageing Well, which has included some unexpected personal benefits!
“I knew this was a great opportunity to connect with the local Deaf senior community, to make them aware of what Ageing Well can offer, and to better understand their needs,” says Caroline, “but what I have most enjoyed has been to listen to the stories of a different generation, to learn about the things they remember, the anecdotes they kindly share. With the establishment of a service in South Australia, I will be able to get out and meet even more people and learn even more stories. I can’t wait!"