On Monday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the national industry peak body, Sean Rooney, addressed event attendees on behalf of LASA, providing his reflection of the year, an update on where the industry is at, and what needs to be done to ensure a Better Ageing Future.
Mr Rooney says the current symbol of success in Australia is the growing number of older Australians, and they must be respected and honoured to ensure a better nation for all.
“More Australians living longer means more opportunities for them to enrich our communities, our economy and our country,” Mr Rooney says.
“Respect means not only acknowledging their legacies, but welcoming their continuing contributions through families and social interaction, professional and workforce engagement and volunteering.
“While growing older brings with it changes and challenges for individuals, we must change our thinking to move the idea of ageing from being a burden to a being bonus, a revered part of our longer lives.”
Mr Rooney believes a shift in mindset from an “aged care” system to an “ageing well” nation would allow for increased respect of older Australians.
He adds that this perception change would address ageism and elder abuse, and show the true value of age-friendly communities.
Mr Rooney explains, “Ageing well is about interactions between all ages because life is a shared journey, not a set of boxes that generations are locked within.
“By recognising and celebrating every older person as an individual, with their own hopes, desires and fears, wisdom and insights, and respecting their present needs and future aspirations, we will be best placed to prevent the failures and right the wrongs identified by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.”
At the moment, Mr Rooney says LASA is contributing to the national conversation around necessary changes in the aged care industry, including at the Royal Commission level, which he describes as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to make things right.
He says that LASA, as a leader in the age services sector, is committed to developing a new approach for the industry.
“One that meets the needs of every older Australian, regardless of their location, wealth or social status, for a future that delivers care, support, services and accommodation with quality, safety and compassion, always,” says Mr Rooney.
“By respecting older people we are saying to all Australians: You matter, what you do in your life matters and, as you age, we’ll be here to make sure you continue to matter.
“It’s imperative that when we look back down the road, we’re able to say that was the turning point, where we moved from the blame game, where providers of age services were seen to be the bulk of the problem, to working alongside each other for real and sustained reform that sees providers as a fundamental part of the solution.
“On this critical journey, we are absolutely committed to a better ageing future, built on respect and partnership between families, communities, providers and Governments.”
This year’s Congress has a lineup of top industry professionals, including Australian journalist, Kerry O’Brien as Master Of Ceremonies for the event; and keynote speakers, TV personality, Todd Sampson, and former Australian Foreign Minister, Julia Bishop.
The Congress is the largest age services event in the Southern hemisphere, bringing together leading thinkers, innovators and providers to challenge industry standards and generate new ideas and approaches for the sector.
The event is holding a huge number of workshops and presentations over the three days, along with 160 trade displays from aged care providers and organisations.
To find about more about the LASA National Congress 2019, head to their website.