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it takes a Village was created from a thought that needed addressing and that was:

By the time a person over 65 years (or those that support them) received the information they needed to prevent a mishap, misjudgment, misunderstanding or premature residential care; it was often too late.

and

Society is fearful of an ageing population instead of embracing it, valuing it and planning for it in a meaningful and sustainable way.

We hope it takes a Village ticks both these boxes. Please read on to learn more about our vision and why we need Charlies Gift, Newcastle’s very own not for profit charity fund to protect our frail aged.

Our aim is to:

Prevent

THE PREVENTABLE

(distress, anxiety, missed opportunities, regrettable decisions, chronic and complex health conditions and needless suffering due to lack of information)

Enable

INDIVIDUAL AND MAXIMUM CAPACITY

(autonomy, independence, wellbeing, self-achievement, social interaction, community participation, individuality, and connectedness)

Support

ALL INVOLVED WHILE DOING SO

(advocate, respect, listen, respond, empathise, encourage, reassure, celebrate, comfort, inform and access)

How?

By enabling our over 65 communities to access information specifically relevant to their needs and lifestyle via one community connecting website. By also sponsoring the “Charlie’s Gift” fund – Newcastle’s own not for profit fund assisting the physical and emotional wellbeing of their frail aged community.

Why?

Because ita-V knows that people over 65 years are all individuals; each with different life experiences, lifestyle expectations, aspirations and desires. We understand that health issues, reduced independence, frailty, grief and loneliness has less to do with chronological age but more to do with life circumstances, avoidable/unavoidable mishaps and an inability to access fundamental information and supports? at the time that they are needed.

Because to be Senior in the current social and economic climate is both daunting and frustrating. Aged care has become more about profit and less about care in many instances. Conversely, those organisations/businesses that do provide valuable services are often not promoted and are hard to find.

Current media focus on ageing is about burden, epidemics of chronic disease, homelessness and ill equipped health services to cater for an ageing population.

Ita-V was created because - we strongly disagree - together we can dispel all the myths about ageing.

What’s in a name?

Charlie was a real person and a real character. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see his 80th birthday but because of him, many did. Charlie lived in a small regional community and assisted many of his neighbours whom were various ages. Whether giving his time, his handyman skills, or the contents of his wallet, he was well known and well relied upon in his community.

When Charlie passed away it was well recognized how much he did for those in his community. Charlie had the gift of knowing what people needed and then “giving” it to them.

One of Charlie’s neighbours summed up beautifully what his community thought of him at his wake. She said…

“There seems to be much less laughter and light in the community without Charlie; I don’t know how we will all manage without him. Charlie gave so much himself and never would accept praise or payment. He will be missed in more ways than one…”

So that is why our unique “wellbeing for seniors” community charity is called “Charlie’s Gift – the gift of giving”. Because every neighbourhood deserves to have a Charlie looking out for them. Through Charlie’s Gift, our senior community will receive the help and joy that Charlie once gave to his community. Our current and future senior Community no longer will have to live in fear of the future because the will have the reassurance that their community will be there for them if needed.

We at Charlie’s Gift appreciate that our older community will continue to experience many of the same medical conditions and issues as those who are younger and at the same time contend with the physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes that incur as part of the ageing process. Loss of regular income, loved ones, independence and community connectedness can leave many of our elderly feeling disempowered, lost, depressed, anxious, grieving and alone.

With funding and resources, Charlie’s Gift can improve the quality of life for our older community by decreasing instances of preventable suffering.

Does Newcastle need Charlie’s Gift? – Yes they do and this is why!

Growing older is becoming more and more expensive. For many, remaining in their home with all the necessary care and assistance to do so, is unachievable. Often essential health services and equipment are too expensive for our seniors, especially our centenarians, so they go without.

The future wellbeing of our seniors is in our hands. They and we can no longer ignore all the changes to aged care and solely rely on the government to protect our elders from harm and suffering.

Each year funding within the budget for Health, Ageing and Disability assistance reduces and eligibility for services or financial assistance gets harder to obtain through means testing. The Australian government, out of financial necessity, will continue implementing changes to health, ageing and disability, so that they are no longer responsible for the welfare of our senior community. Instead, more responsibility is being placed on the seniors themselves and those that care for them. Many of our seniors were not aware during their working life that they would live much longer than their own parents and therefore did not adequately budget for it.

The people who will be hit the hardest are those on a part-pension or fully self-funded. This is because they will miss out on many government subsidised assistance programs that are only eligible to full pensioners. Although they may not require these programs initially, they will have to pay high fees for services if they do need them. Depending on each individual Super Fund, they may not have enough funds to see them live well through to their 90’s.

The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, stated “The Government has put their three pillar retirement income policy in place too late to provide an adequate income in retirement for the large baby boomer group of Australians”. What is the purpose of this income policy? “to encourage self-provision in retirement and reduce the future cost of public (unfunded) pension schemes”.

Research from the National Seniors Australia and Group Homes Australia stated in their summary “Worryingly, two in three people aged over 50 intend to remain in their current home as they age, yet only 1 in 3 (38%) have plans in place to prepare for getting older and becoming frailer. Furthermore, for those who intend to remain in their own home, 36% do not have any design features in their home to assist frail people, and 29% do not think they could afford such changes.” Further, “Just one in four respondents believed they could afford the costs of aged care. Of concern, 40% of respondents simply did not know if they could afford their aged care costs in the future – underscoring the importance of retirement planning more generally”.

Although ageing in the community is the ideal for many people, from the age of 65 other research shows that about 28% of males and 46% of females will be admitted to residential care at some point in time.

Wellbeing for our Seniors has become a big business – often with profit overriding care. Hospitals, Health Services and Government subsidized programs are being stretched to their limits with high demand, reduced funding and minimal staff and resources. And who suffers? Our frail aged, especially those without family support or financial means.

BUT, what if we all became a little like Charlie – providing the help that our older community need at the time that they need it? What if the Seniors within our Newcastle region could live with a peaceful mind knowing that their community would see them through hardship if needed?

Many of our frail aged are responsible for the great community that the Newcastle region has become. Help us to acknowledge this. Help us to give a little back to ensure that Newcastle’s elders can leave this world the same way they came into it; valued, safe and cared for.

To assist our community Charlie’s Gift – ‘The Gift of Giving’, Newcastle supporting their elderly community was founded.

Help us make a difference Newcastle – let’s create a community we can be proud of for our current and future elders – after all we are growing older every day.

CHARLIE’S GIFT VISION:

That all the elders within the Newcastle region have access to the required resources needed to enable them to live with dignity, wellbeing and contentment; free from avoidable suffering and hardship, from retirement to their twilight years.

CHARLIE’S GIFT MISSION:

To prepare for the needs of our current and future ageing community with less reliance on dwindling government financial support and programs.

To Prevent, Enable and Support the elders within the Newcastle Region, if and when they need it to reduce preventable mishap and suffering.

To ensure that the elders within the Newcastle region live the last chapters of their lives the same as their first – with care, trust, security, self-worth and contentment.

NOTE: “AT RISK” INCLUDES ANY PREVENTABLE PHYSICAL, MENTAL, COGNITIVE OR PSYCHO-SOCIAL DISTRESS.

CHARLIE’S GIFT AIM:

  1. To raise awareness of the issues impacting on the wellbeing of Newcastle’s ageing community and may potentially place them “at risk” of otherwise avoidable mishap or suffering.
  2. To raise money through charity events, promotion, sponsorship as well as individual and corporate donations to ensure that our Elder’s in need to not go without goods and services because of financial hardship.
  3. Ensuring that, where possible, Charlie’s Gift will use local businesses and services within Newcastle, ensuring that all monies raised will filter back into our local communities ensuring sustainability.
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