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$25m for older adult advocacy network

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) has welcomed the launch of a strengthened support network for older Australians accessing aged care services.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt yesterday launched the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and said it would immediately provide strong local voices for individuals in need.

Wyatt said it supports all elder Australians, including those with varied needs who might be living with a disability or dementia, are care leavers, or are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Through OPAN’s network of nine service delivery organisations – one in each state and the ACT and two in the Northern Territory, in Darwin and Alice Springs – we are now providing a nationally consistent model of independent advocacy.”

ACSA chief executive Pat Sparrow said the provision of a nationally consistent network of independent advocacy and support services represents a vital resource that will help to empower older people using aged care services.

“Supporting older Australians to know their rights is a key dynamic for the healthy functioning of the aged care industry,” Sparrow said, adding OPAN is a welcome service providing for positive engagement between aged care providers, consumers and support services.

Sparrow said access to free, confidential advocacy and support will help facilitate an overall positive engagement between older Australians and aged care providers.

The government has provided $25.7 million over the next three years for OPAN to deliver the new National Aged Care Advocacy Program.

Wyatt said help was now at hand for people aged 55 and over who encountered serious frustrations or needed guidance in navigating their aged care rights.

“People needing help should see the OPAN website or dial the freecall number and they will be linked to a local service offering personal support.

“The aim of the service is simple – providing the free, independent and confidential advocacy support and information our elder Australians deserve.”

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