SINCE 1979, Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) has provided local migrant and refugee communities with a range of services. It also offers a free service to connect people over the age of 65 with supportive services in the district.

SMECC is also an information hub for the EnCOMPASS program through which they aim to provide tailored aged care information to local culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community members as well as the general community within the Sunraysia region.

The EnCOMPASS program supports those who are 65 years or older and 50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples. SMECC EnCOMPASS Connector Miranda Lamattina said that SMECC
was keen to get the message out into broader the community as well, and that it could connect people to aged care service providers in Sunraysia at no cost to the client.

“EnCOMPASS is basically a My Aged Care connector,” she said. “My Aged Care is the Federal Government online service which people can access and they are asked a series of questions which leads to an assessment of their eligibility and what services they can, or may need to, access in their home. ”It may be help with cleaning, home maintenance, shopping, personal care – helping to shower for example and Occupational Therapy and home modifications are available if that is required.

“We assist with connecting them to the various service providers in Mildura who can provide the different services that they may need help in facilitating.”

SMECC’s Joanne Dichiera, who works with Miranda said that their role is to help the elderly who are not all familiar with, or capable of, navigating the online technology. “We are able to assist them in that process and direct them to the services they may need,” she said.

“Our role is to assist in that first step and we can do that by visiting people’s homes with our laptops and we able to register them into the My Aged Care system and in turn they will receive a call from an assessor who will determine what level package they are entitled to and what services they may need.

“Some clients may already be on a My Aged Care package and their circumstances may have changed and their mobility for example has declined and so they might need to increase to a higher package and this is where we can assist them with that transition and help them get reassessed.”

If you are an elderly person looking for support or someone seeking in-home support for an elderly person, SMECC can help connect people over the age of 65 with everything from social activities, inhome nursing care, independent living support, meal delivery, domestic cleaning and a range of other specialised services.

To access SMECC’s free service contact Miranda on 5022 1006 or email:

Readers can also listen to a radio interview with SMECC’s EnCOMPASS connectors on 106.7 HotFM this Sunday at 10am.


By: John Dooley

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