The Aged-care Rights Service (TARS) will be re-launching itself at a symposium on November 25, 2015. It will then be called Seniors Rights Service and supported by a five year strategic plan to expand its reach and service offerings for vulnerable and disadvantaged older people in NSW.
Organization Purpose – Seniors Rights Service:
The purpose of the Seniors Rights Service is to foster communities where older members of society are aware of, actively exercising and defending their individual rights, in a society that respects and values older people and promotes and upholds their rights.
The Aged-care Rights Service has 30 years of experience in delivering services to the most vulnerable and marginalized older people across NSW.
The organization has expanded over its history and now provides the following key services:
- Legal services targeting older people in NSW as part of the Community Legal Centre network
- Retirement Village advocacy and advice to NSW residents of villages
- Individual Advocacy for NSW recipients and potential of Commonwealth funded residential and community based aged-care services
- Education across NSW ensuring older people and their representatives are aware of the rights of older people
The organization has been successful in recent years in gaining project specific funding. These projects have allowed the organisation to provide greater reach and targeting of people from linguistically and culturally diverse communities and also older members of the gay and lesbian community (LGBTI).
Last year TARS provided 5,571 legal services to older people in 2014/15. Also, the organisation provided individual advocacy services to 2,247 people in NSW receiving aged-care services. Over 22,000 people were reached through our face-to-face community education efforts. We also recorded more than 51,000 hits to our website in the 2014/15 fiscal year.
Our organisation works with a broad cross-section of stakeholders. Our work is best implemented when we work in collaboration with local regionally based services or state wide services such as the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline.
The organization is going to launch its new five-year strategic plan to provide a roadmap of how to further develop or ability to reach vulnerable and disadvantaged older people across NSW, including older people from ethnically diverse backgrounds and other special needs groups. The Seniors Rights Service will refine a growing suite of peer based and other advice, education services for older people across NSW. This will support older people to understand and stand up for their rights into the future.
Rationale for Name Change:
Clearly, The Aged-care Rights Service does much more in 2015 than just advocate for people receiving aged-care services. Our services are growing and our organization would like to remain relevant and responsive in a contemporary environment ensure are reach is maximized.
An independent third-party researcher consulted with 70 stakeholders – external organizations, potential clients, funders, staff and board. The general consensus was that Seniors Rights Service better described the full range of services we currently do (and provides us with more options into the future).
Also, some people who participated in the consultation mentioned that the term ‘Seniors’ was more respectful and applicable than the term ‘Aged’ in communities with diverse cultural backgrounds
- In 2013 people 65 years and older represented about 14% of the nation’s population. By 2053, this demographic will be about 21% of the population (ABS). As the nation’s population of older people grows larger so will the needs for adequate and appropriate services to ensure their rights are upheld.
- From a survey of 4,000 older Australians (Law Access, 2013) 50% of these people did not seek appropriate legal action when a legal crisis arose in their older life. Older people are more likely to be disadvantaged due to limited income when seeking appropriate help (Law and Justice Foundation, 2012).
- In NSW there are 1.1 million people over the age of 65 (ABS). Of these almost 90,000 receive aged-care services – either residential, home or transitional care. There are 900 aged-care facilities in NSW.
- The Elder Abuse National Annual Report (2014) indicates 4.6% of older across Australia may experience elder abuse. The report states: “The figures show a demonstrated need to raise the profile of elder abuse, to reach more vulnerable older people”.
- In the NSW context of 1.1 million older people a 4.6% prevalence of abuse equates to 50,600 people who will experience abuse in their older age.
- There are 300 ancestries in Australia and 260 different languages spoken in Australia. While it is difficult to determine how many older CALD people there are in Australia some communities have more than 60% of their community over the age of 65 (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, or Slovenia) while other communities have less than 5% over 65 years (South Korea, Taiwan of Afghanistan (National Ageing and Aged Care Strategy for People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds, 2015).
- There are 595 retirement villages in NSW with 36,000 residents in total.
- Seniors Rights Service provided 5,571 legal services to older people in 2014/15. Also, the organisation provided individual advocacy services to 2,247 people in NSW receiving aged-care services. Over 22,000 people were reached through our face-to-face community education efforts. We also recorded more than 51,000 hits to our website in the 2014/15 fiscal year.