Caring for the elderly in our home, mental health in our community and Modern Greek being part of the National Curriculum were the hot topics at the second meeting of the Greek Ministerial Consultative Committee in Canberra.

The meeting, held in Canberra on Tuesday, was also attended by: the Minister for Education Peter Garrett – who spoke about Modern Greek; the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler – who discussed the ageing Greek population, caring for our community and mental health; and a senior advisor for Families and Community Services Minister, Jenny Macklin, who discussed social security. Mr Butler discussed with the committee the current shift in aged care which is now moving towards own home care as opposed to aged care facilities.

Committee member Nicholas Pappas, lawyer and Secretary of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Church, told Neos Kosmos they discussed how this policy shift applied to the Greek community. He said that as a community we have come full circle with aged care.

“Of course we always cared for our aged in our homes,” Mr Pappas said, “then there was a shift that we were coming to terms with the fact we might have to care for them in facilities and as our community was coming to terms with that, there’s now a shift back to own home care.”

Dementia in our community dominated the mental health discussions as our community is ageing faster “dementia support is critical”. This was the first meeting as a part of the Greek Ministerial Consultative Committee for Mr Pappas who said it was a “productive session”. “The aim is to be a conduit up to our representatives in parliament and a conduit back to our community as well.”