Elders are the heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. They hold a significant place in communities, playing crucial roles in continuing traditions and stories, passing on knowledges, and offering valuable insights, guidance and wisdom. They've paved the way and fought through injustices for future generations, fostering the continuity of culture.

This year's NAIDOC theme, For our Elders, provides us an opportunity to recognise their incredible tenacity, sacrifices, and activism. In particular, we recognise their wisdom in medicinal practices.

APC Indigenous Health Strategy Group member Lloyd Dolan, a Wiradjuri man says, “Our Elders have made us who we are today, and who we aspire to be tomorrow.”

As the keepers of traditional medicinal knowledge, Elders have accumulated an extensive understanding of herbal remedies, healing practices, and holistic healthcare. With unique insights and deep understandings of the lands and resources make Elders an invaluable resource for promoting wellness and maintaining cultural connections to health and healing.

As the accreditation body for pharmacy education, we are committed to creating learning spaces where curriculum is built in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, not about them. The knowledge and wisdom passed down from Elders are an integral part to achieving cultural safety in pharmacy.

Pharmacists are instrumental in ensuring the well-being and health of elder citizens, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, and those residing in aged care facilities.

Pharmacists' participation in aged care extends beyond medication dispensing. They check that medicines prescribed are suitable for each individual and that they will not cause additional health problems or adverse effects. Pharmacists also play an important role in ensuring that the elderly receive medicine in a form that is easy for them to use.  However, this expertise must be delivered in a culturally safe manner to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

Recognising the importance of pharmacist involvement in aged care, the Australian Pharmacy Council has been developing accreditation standards that will assure quality of training programs for pharmacists who want to work in aged care facilities as part of the Aged Care On-site Pharmacist initiative, and to conduct comprehensive Medication Management Reviews.

We pay our deepest respect to the first custodians of the incredible lands we now share.

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