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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Lively discussion expected during OPAN’s policy agenda online roundtable

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In light of the upcoming election, the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is calling for tangible commitments from both sides of the aisle to ensure comprehensive aged care reforms are realised.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear reiterated the sentiment of advocates nationwide — that the current aged care system fails to meet peoples’ basic human rights.

“The treatment we’ve seen of older Australians, particularly in residential aged care homes, is a national disgrace,” Gear said.

“The reform journey has commenced, but action must ramp up to give older Australians the dignity and respect they deserve in their later years.”

OPAN is requesting immediate action on the following five key priorities:

  1. Deliver a new, rights-based Aged Care Act that respects, protects and enforces the rights of older people by July 1, 2023.
  2. Legislatively adopt the revised Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care Homes to prevent disproportionate isolation as per COVID-19 lockdown measures.
  3. Deliver ongoing investment in care at home.
  4. Implement all recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and immediately provide a timeline for when this can be expected.
  5. Commit to greater funding and resourcing of aged care advocacy bodies, such as OPAN and other comparable organisations.
OPAN CEO Craig Gear says that his organisation looks forward to working with the next government to implement their five key reform policies.

“Now the election has been called, we will hear many promises from both sides of government, but only direct engagement with older Australians in the design of their services will change the experience of their everyday care,” Gear added.

“An incoming government that puts the rights, preferences and needs of older people at the core of the aged care system will rebalance the power dynamic between older people and aged care providers.”

OPAN’s policy agenda will be discussed in greater detail during an online, roundtable discussion hosted via Zoom on Tuesday May 3, 2022, 11am (AEST).

The aim of this roundtable is to highlight the voices of older people in order to maintain pressure on politicians throughout the election campaign, and the discussion will be hosted by a number of prominent advocates, including:

  • Charles Linsell, aged care advocate.
  • Lesley Forster, a home care recipient and advocate for the agency and involvement of older persons in the design of their own care.
  • Lynda Henderson, a dementia and disability rights advocate and carer for someone living with a rare form of Younger Onset Dementia.
  • Mona Orszula, advocate for justice, equal rights and respect for all ages and a supporter of self-managed home care packages.
  • Robin Vote, an aged care advocate focused on home care services, with years of experience working in the health and community sector.

Members of OPAN’s National Older Persons Reference Group, these five prominent advocates will share their stories and views on what they want the next government to do to improve the lives of older people. 

To register for the online, roundtable event, follow this link.

More about OPAN

OPAN comprises nine state and territory member organisations that help thousands of Australians each year to work through issues with the aged care system.

OPAN offers free, independent and confidential support and information to older people, their families and carers to help them understand and exercise their rights.

For information or support regarding aged care, please call the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600 or visit opan.org.au

OPAN is funded by grants from the Australian Government, but works independently from government departments and aged care providers.

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