Forgotten Australians, also known as Care Leavers, are people who were in an orphanage or other institution while a child up until 1989 and experienced either horrendous physical or sexual abuse, or bad care practices. More than 500,000 Australians endured poor living conditions as an institutionalised child. In recognition of their needs $500,000 in funding was provided by the former Minister for Aged Care, Mr Ken Wyatt to South Australian not-for-profit organisation, Helping Hand Aged Care, to develop their guide Real Care The Second Time Around.
Helping Hands believes the funding they have received from the Government will allow for communication and understanding between aged care providers and Forgotten Australians.
Helping Hand Project Manager Diana O’Neil said.“We are hopeful this booklet is the first step in a longer conversation that will lead to influencing policy and practices within the aged care sector.” The guide was released by Helping Hands in February, and recognises choice and control is important but a challenge to Forgotten Australians. Some of the suggestions in the guide include offering care based on choice, transparency and understanding.
To accompany the work from Helping Hand, Flinders University has begun research into the needs of Forgotten Australians to create tangible recommendations for aged care facilities.
Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health recently acquired a $50,000 Strategic Research Grant from the Australian Association of Gerontology and the Flinders Foundation, to explore the health impacts, needs, preferences, barriers and experiences of the Forgotten Australians moving into aged care or accessing aged care services.
Monica Cations, Flinders University Research fellow and Chief Investigator of the Forgotten Australians study, will be leading the study with the findings and recommendations to be released next year in March/April.
Ms Cations says, “Aged care is really terrifying for people that were raised in these types of environments. The concept of being re-institutionalised is terrifying for a lot of people. We need to understand and explore what are the other options. Because a lot of aspects of general aged care can be really unsafe for people who have experienced traumatic childhoods or institutionalisation as children. But we don’t know a lot about what exactly needs to change to meet their needs.”
Forgotten Australians from South Australia will be interviewed to develop recommendations for aged care facilities to implement. The research team report they were overwhelmed by the amount of Forgotten Australians wanting to participate.
Thanks to the Aged Care Guide website.