The Health Promotion Service for Older People is auspiced by Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW Inc (CPSA) and funded by South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). The service has been providing free health education sessions for older people since 1991. It is a Volunteer Peer Educator program operating at the community level, with a particular focus on people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds who might otherwise not have access to vital health information.
A statewide service, it currently operates across metropolitan Sydney, including lower Blue Mountains and Richmond, Central Coast, lower Hunter as well as the Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas. There is consistent and strong demand for its education sessions which are presented in English and 18 community languages.
The goal of the Health Promotion Service for Older People aligns with a key goal in the State Government’s plan, NSW 2021, to keep people healthy and out of hospital. HPSOP is also meeting other State Government goals to make it easier for people to be involved in their communities and to increase opportunities for seniors in NSW to fully participate in community life.
The service actively promotes healthy ageing amongst older people with a view to keeping them well and out of hospital. Topics covered in education sessions are Falls Injury Prevention; Medicine Management which can often be a cause of hospitalisation; Diabetes and Osteoporosis which are chronic medical conditions; and Oral Health Care which, if neglected, can require treatment in hospital.
The flexibility of the Peer Educator training model which the Health Promotion Service for Older People uses, plus the support given to its Volunteer Peer Educators, provides the capacity to deliver various health messages according to current needs and changing government priorities. The volunteers are aged 50+ and many have a first language other than English. The Peer Educators receive training from an accredited trainer with a background in adult education and experience in health promotion. Further training on specific health topics is provided in partnership with Local Health District and hospital staff and key health non-government organisations.