1. Listen more.
Everyone has a story to tell – if we’re willing to listen. Every Australian has a unique perspective and a unique experience to share. However, it can sometimes happen that people are more inclined to talk than to listen. They might prioritise their own understandings of a situation and talk as if they know what your experience is like. It is much better to take the approach of being open to the experiences of others. An important way to do this is to ask questions and to not talk over others.
2. Abandon stereotypes.
It is an unfortunate fact that some people hold unfair, unreasonable and socially unjust prejudices, biases, and stereotypes. These may be something they learned from their parents, or which they picked up in certain problematic areas of society. Stereotypes reflect less on the people who they claim to know, and more on the people who think they are an accurate reflection of how things are. By questioning the stereotypes about older Australians, Australians living with disability, and other diverse groups, we can all start a true and meaningful discussion that includes everyone.
3. Stop making assumptions.
Some people might make assumptions because they are uncomfortable asking questions, because they think a topic is awkward to talk about, and it may be true that are things we might prefer not to mention, given they are not an important part of who we are. Other people might make assumptions quite automatically. However, once a person has abandoned stereotypes, it becomes obvious that what is true of one elderly Australian or Australian living with a disability, is not true of another. Everyone is different, and so it is important to never assume a person wants something done a certain way and likes a certain thing.
4. Actively include everyone
Each and every Australian has something to contribute, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that everyone is included. This inclusion could be inclusion in conversation, inclusion in decision-making, inclusion in a game, or inclusion in an any other activity involving a group of people. If anyone is ever feeling left out, it should be an easy or straightforward process to involve them with a simple question or gesture. If they’d prefer to be alone, that is also okay, but the opportunity must always be open.
5. Support everyone’s independence
Everyone, no matter their circumstances, has a right to enjoy a level of independence that suits them. Gaining this independence can be a matter of gaining the right support in the right areas, from professional people who understand and who empathise and who are skilled at what they do. It may also be a matter of finding the right people to socialise with, or of gaining the right equipment or facilities to lead an independent life.
St John’s Community Care embraces the above inclusivity principles through our client-focused community care services. To find out more about how we are helping the community through inclusive care, browse our website or contact us today.