There are a number of decisions to be made, and aspects to keep in mind, in the early stages of planning your education session.
Here are some cues to get you started, and you can find more detail in the linked documents which you can print out, or save for future reference.
Decide on the topic – One of the early decisions relates to the proposed main topic or focus of the education session. This may be largely dictated by your curriculum and the timing of the session, or you may have some scope to propose one or more topics identified through your CQI processes or evaluation of your training needs.
Locate a potential guest speaker – You may need to locate an older person to present at your education session, or they may find you! Your local community nursing or residential aged care facilities may provide helpful contacts, or you might know someone through your personal or professional networks. The members of organisations such as the CWA, the Men's Shed, Rotary and the Lion's Club may be willing to participate or may be able to suggest someone relevant to your topic. Even if you do know the person, be sure to maintain professionalism, send appropriately worded emails or letters, and keep their Rights and Responsibilities in mind.
Early conversations - If you initiate contact with a potential guest speaker, let them know the topic of the session and other details (if known). This will also be helpful if you are asking a residential aged care facility to suggest someone who may be appropriate. If the older person approaches you and the topic is not fixed, speak with them about what they would most like to talk about. The Checklist for Educators provides additional detail about what is needed at each stage on OPTEACHing.
Assessing suitability – It may take a while to find someone who is 'a good fit' for your education session. Take time to speak to each potential guest speaker to get to know their strengths and preferences. Don't automatically discount someone just because they have dementia, cognitive decline or other impairment – but DO make allowances for those and work to manage any risks to that person and the learners.
Discuss the options – You will need to balance the educational priorities with the needs and preferences of the older person. Perhaps some adjustments can be made (e.g. if someone wants to share their story but feels overwhelmed in a group, you may be able to pre-record then show it in a tutorial or lecture). However, if it becomes obvious that there is not 'a good fit', then inform the older person clearly - yet kindly.
Maintain emotional and cultural safety – It is your responsibility to try to maintain an environment which is emotionally, physically and culturally safe for both the guest speaker and the learners (see the link on the During tab). It can be helpful for the guest speaker to have a nominated carer or support person with them on the day. If the guest speaker opts not to have a carer, it is a good idea to organise someone to debrief with them immediately after the session.
Remember that each education session is different and sometimes the 'steps' involved in planning occur in a different sequence to those outlined here. Sometimes you'll also need to make adjustments to suit your particular setting or situation. Regardless, try not to skip over any of the steps, and make use of the checklist to make sure you've addressed everything in this beneficial approach.