Professor McCallum joined the independent advocacy group for older Australians in December 2016 and has been fulfilling the role of CEO since May this year.
Board Chairman Chris Guille says Professor McCallum, the ‘leading Australian aged care researcher of his generation’, was “ideally experienced” to guide the organisation through a period of great change and challenges.
“Professor McCallum has a lengthy an illustrious career in research relating to health and ageing, along with senior management roles in universities and national research organisations,” Mr Guille says.
“He began with fundamental work on retirement to Australia’s major longitudinal study of health and ageing, the Dubbo Study, then was instrumental in establishing research translation activities at the National Health and Medical Research Council.
“Since joining National Seniors in late 2016 he and his team have completed 22 research reports related to the quality of life for older Australians.
“How seniors cope in an increasingly digitised world, and what they need - and deserve - to ensure they have access to vital information and services, such as telephone and face-to-face assistance, has featured.”
Mr Guille adds that Professor McCallum is “passionate” about bringing consumer voices into the big policy debates and, more generally, into the public dialogue about our ageing society and social life generally.
“On behalf of National Seniors, he has been involved in formulating the terms of reference for the recently announced Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, ensuring consumer views are heard and advocating options for better services,” he explains.
“The Board believes Professor McCallum is ideally placed to lead our organisation through what is a critical time in ensuring older Australians receive the services they deserve.”
Professor McCallum says he is pleased to be taking on the role of CEO, while also retaining responsibility for the organisation’s research.
“A key part of our recent research has focussed on workforce training for home and aged care workers, and it is apparent better basic training, including how to deal with dementia, along with the use of new technologies, is needed,” he says.
“Many older people are being cared for by their partners, or other family members, who are already at their limit and can’t be expected to do more. At the very least, carers need more accessible training and more respite options.
“Loneliness is another major issue for older people - it’s not just a sad reality, but injurious to health.
“It is appalling that we have an estimated 40 percent of people in nursing homes who never have a visitor.
“This is a community issue that we can’t blame the Government for.”