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NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors

Services provided to older people

  • Individual counselling support. This is done at one of STARTTS’ offices or at one of our various outreach locations.
  • Self support groups.
  • Older Person’s in Cultural Transition (OPICT) program.
  • Keeping In Contact (KIC) program.
Make a Referral

Issues faced

Australia has been accepting humanitarian entrants since the end of World War II, and many other people from refugee-like backgrounds have settled in Australia through the skilled migration program, including family reunion.

Many of these people are now ageing. As people age and their cognitive function and short-term memory declines, the mechanisms that kept the traumatic memories under control may weaken. They may experience the resurfacing of painful memories and be more vulnerable to flashbacks. They may lose second language (English) competence and revert to their mother tongue. As physical problems limit mobility, ageing trauma survivors may experience increased social isolation, depression and feelings of cultural dislocation.

The OPICT program

The Older Person’s in Cultural Transition (OPICT) program is a 7-week program to help older men and women from a refugee background (and the same language group) meet, support one another and discuss issues of concern around:

  • Staying healthy as we age
  • Personal safety in our homes
  • Ageing in a different culture
  • Relating to our adult children
  • Understanding Australia’s aged care system

The OPICT program provides participants with a safe, supportive and culturally appropriate setting to share their experiences, reflect on and value their own cultural traditions around ageing while thinking of useful ways to adapt these values for their lives in a new or different country. The group meets in an accessible community location on a time and day of the week which suits participants. Each session is around 2 hours long and includes a shared light meal.

Make a Referral

The Keeping in Contact program

A WentWest funded program supporting migrant and refugee seniors in Western Sydney to overcome isolation and anxiety stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping in Contact is an extension of the successful OPICT program and is delivered in accessible community locations by a team of trained Bi-Cultural Facilitators. OPICT provides culturally safe and trauma-informed fortnightly social groups as well as regular outdoor COVID safe outings and physical exercise activities for seniors from CALD and refugee backgrounds.

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