OLDER PEOPLE

Contribute to the education and training of
current and future health professionals and carers.

What could nurses and carers learn from me?


You are the best person to tell your story! You are the expert on your life, your health and your situation. In fact: Your lived experience and knowledge about life will help nurses and carers learn what it feels like to age. You are NOT just a body to fix. You are a complete human being with whom they are interacting. You are a unique representation of your generation, culture and gender.

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I’ve been asked to be involved in an education session, what does that mean?

You will be talking to students or nurses/carers so that they can learn more about your experience of ageing.
You may be talking to them:

  • Face-to-face.
  • One-on-one.
  • In a small group (2 to 5 people).
  • In a large group (10 to 50 people).
  • Being recorded on a video.
  • Having your voice recorded.
  • Sharing your photographs.

What if I don’t feel comfortable speaking in public?

You can agree to participate on your terms. Talk to the organiser or educator about your feelings and negotiate some alternatives:
How about you:

  • Speak to a few people instead of a large group?
  • Have your story or image captured and then shared with the larger group?
  • Have your carer or support person come with you to the session?
  • Refuse the offer to participate.

If I agree now, can I change my mind?

Absolutely! You have rights. Empower yourself by reading the information on the Rights of the Older Person page.


What else should I consider?

There are some other things you might like to discuss with the organiser ahead of time. For instance, let them know if you have difficulties hearing or seeing people at a distance, if you’re likely to need access to a toilet, or have dietary or other needs. Talk to them about what will help you to feel the most comfortable and confident.


Top 10 reasons for OPTEACHing!


Now that you know a little about the OPTEACH approach,
feel free to explore the benefits, then follow the pathway to the next step.

You're an expert in ageing.

Share your real life experience of how you made decisions and choices that got you to where you are today. What did you do when you were younger that your body reminds you of on a daily basis?


What have other OPTEACHers said about the program?


A retired man from a rural community shared his story with university students. Marv states:


"The more I think about it (participating in education sessions), the more I think it is a great idea; it's something that should be done more frequently because that's what we're here for - to learn and to teach each other and to show each other. You've lived life and are living your life for many years and you've got much to give and so I think it's important that it's done on a regular basis. I am happy to contribute whenever I can, yeah!"


Philomena is a woman living in a residential aged care facility with dementia. She had this to say about nurses and carers learning from textbooks:


"But I am the one that can talk to them, that can tell them, that can answer the[ir] questions.  Provided it's much the same sort of dementia. I don't know of any other sorts.  And I can tell them about all the tears along the way but that's alright.  That's okay.  The best thing to do is to find yourself little interests, little things that you can do with other people and [those opportunities] pop up."


Mary (a volunteer coordinator) contributed to teaching students through interviews and in a textbook, stated:


By having older people included in education "the older person realises how important they are, how important their opinion is and how important what they say is and how they feel. You see, I hear complaints – people in hospital, they'll say, 'the nurse or the doctor came in and it was as if I wasn't there'. That person feels they are being excluded from the conversation, which does nothing for their self-esteem."

Get Involved