News & Publications

17 Mar 20

AAG Covid-19 Update

Dear Members, partners and supporters,

We would like to acknowledge the significant impact the coronavirus (Covid-19) is having on communities and individuals across the world, especially older people and those who are vulnerable. Our thoughts go out to those who have been directly impacted by this crisis.

As you might expect, we take the implications of Covid-19 very seriously. We are currently undertaking measures to minimise the potential health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and monitoring and following the advice of the Australian Government’s Department of Health. This is all being done in the context of evolving global and local conditions. Our priority is to make sure everyone stays safe and well.

Our concerns for the wellbeing of older people, AAG members and other stakeholders is paramount. We recommend that you monitor and follow the advice of Commonwealth and State/Territory health authorities. The latest Policy and Practice Update to be released shortly includes information on
Covid-19 and impacts on older people but is from a point in time in this fast-changing environment.

We recognise that the indirect elements like self-isolation in response to Covid-19 will also have impacts on activities that have previously been primarily face-to-face.

Division Events

Even though AAG events are rarely gatherings of 500 people or more, they are still public gatherings where transmission risk is higher.  We have requested that all AAG Divisions cancel all face to face meetings and events and if not already doing so hold meetings virtually where possible.  This is especially important because many of our members work with older people who are most at-risk of Covid-19. 

ACTION - If you would like to connect virtually (either using Microsoft Teams or GoToMeeting), please contact Michael Tan mtan@aag.asn.au who can provide detailed access and guidelines. AAG has recently implemented Microsoft Teams which supports video-conferencing and collaboration.  

2020 AAG Conference in Hobart

Although the 53rd AAG Conference is some time away (17-20 November), many of you may be wondering about the potential impacts of the Covid-19 on this year’s conference.  

We are planning for the 2020 AAG Conference to go ahead in Tasmania. The program is developing well and on track.  Even before the recent announcement (18 March) by the Prime Minister regarding in restricting non-essential indoor gatherings to no more than 100 participants, we are meeting regularly to review the situation and are developing contingency plans should things change.  We can reassure you that we are committed to following official government and WHO guidance in our ongoing assessment. 

ACTION - Submit an abstract for the 2020 AAG Conference before closure on 27 April and encourage your colleagues to do the same – click here to submit.   

We are being proactive. AAG recognises that we will need to adapt to the new environment in which we find ourselves. AAG cannot be sure where the pandemic will be in November, but we do know that many of our members will be impacted in different ways by Covid-19 and/or the recent bushfires.  We are therefore planning to fast track our use of video-streaming and other technologies to ensure that members who cannot attend in person, for whatever reason, can both attend and hopefully engage synchronously (live) or asynchronously (recorded) at their leisure. This not only increases equitable access but also supports our climate change focus. 

Of course, the best way to engage for most will be the deeply immersive experience of an AAG Conference on the Apple Isle.

The Conference theme ‘A climate for change in ageing’ is particularly prescient.  With the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report due the week before (12 November), ongoing climate change plus biosecurity threats, such as Covid-19, our conference is an occasion to debate the opportunities in a changing world for older people.

We will keep you updated and will be as flexible as possible in accommodating the needs of our delegates as this situation develops. If you have any worries or questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 03 8506 0525 or aag@theconferencemanager.com.au.

Ongoing support and communications

We will be continuing to provide the Thursday Three (AAG’s weekly update), Policy and Practice Updates, a broad range of webinars plus policy and advocacy work with upcoming reports on Care leavers at risk of homelessness, ATSIAAG 7th Report focusing on Integrated, culturally services for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Today is the inaugural meeting of AAG’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group with representatives from every state and territory and different aspects of AAG.   

Staffing

At AAG, we are taking the advice of Governments on the appropriate steps to manage our team at the National Office through this period. AAG staff are now all working from home – thankfully we have recently updated cloud-based systems which support remote work and collaboration. We are maintaining a high level of communication with the team to ensure we are well informed and safe. 

AAG’s purpose is to improve the experience of ageing through connecting research, policy and practice. In these challenging times we are committed to continuing to meet our purpose and seek out new approaches that increase positive social impact.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us as needed.

We hope you and your loved ones stay safe.

With kind regards,

James

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