NSW RVRA in high-powered meeting over abuse in retirement villages

DCM Institute and the Retirement Village Residents Association (RVRA) hosted two webinairs on abuse in retirement villages in July 2023 after the Residents’ Association carried out a survey on psychological abuse.

The survey was summarised in a report titled ‘Ageing Without Fear’ which showed:

  • Over 40% reported experiencing at least one type of abuse. The proportion of females reporting abuse was higher (44%) than for males (34%).
  • The most commonly reported types of abuse were Patronisation (31%), followed by Harassment (20%) and Intimidation (20%).
  • For each type of abuse, over two-thirds of respondents indicated it occurred on multiple occasions, with the highest repeat figure of 77% for Harassment.
  • The most common type of abuse is Patronisation, with 69% specifying Management as the source of that type of abuse. This category included village staff, the manager and Head Office.
  • Resident-on-resident abuse was the highest source of abuse at 70% (except Patronisation).

Roger Pallant, Secretary of the RVRA, subsequently presented the survey’s report, Ageing Without Fear, to the Retirement Living Council and the Property Council. A meeting between the parties was subsequently held with a commitment to work together to develop strategies and materials to mitigate the abuse within retirement villages.

Then the RVRA contacted the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission (ADC) and the report was provided to them. A meeting followed between the RVRA and the ADC with a commitment to work together to develop a coordinated approach for training and materials related to elder abuse.

This month Roger travelled to Sydney for a meeting with Robert Fitgerald, the Ageing and Disability Commissioner, his team, the Retirement Living Council and the Property Council.

“The meeting was a meet and greet but there was general consensus that this topic was best addressed if we all joined forces and collaborated on getting a common message out to villages and residents.”

Roger Pallant

Roger was part of a panel at the Property Council NSW Retirement Outlook forum in Sydney last Thursday (pictured below). The panel moderated by Tamara Rasmussen, Head of Resident Operations at Keyton, also featured Jane Monk, CEO of Gannon Lifestyle Communities, and Keyton Regional Operations Manager, Liz Johns.

The ADC conducts “Roadshows” in regions and the RVRA and the Property Council will present where appropriate to demonstrate a joint approach to this serious and important topic.

Roger said some of the key areas to be reviewed will be:

  • Provision of materials for current and prospective residents regarding what elder/psychological abuse and where to go for help if needed.
  • Review of induction/training programs for village managers.
  • Development of training materials for residents committees in dealing with complaints of abuse and referral sources.
  • Communication methods to ensure information and materials are being made available to all villages.

“The RVRA will produce further reports re psychological abuse to ensure this topic remains uppermost in residents and managers minds. Having the support of the ADC and the Property Ccouncil will make getting the message out to residents so much easier.”

Roger Pallant

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