Please, talk with us

The aged care royal commission is uncovering widespread and disturbing problems in residential and at home services. Peter Leith gives his view on the root of the issues.

Please, talk with us

Peter Leith is 90 and describes himself as ‘half-deaf and half-blind’, but he has the vigor of an opinionated 30-year-old layered with decades of wisdom and experience.


Each year, the Australian aged care industry presents a number of state and national seminars and conferences.

Expert ‘guest speakers’ from throughout Australia and overseas include academics from teaching or research fields, aged care workers, senior executives of aged care facilities and medical specialists in gerontology, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Workshops and panel discussions or ‘forums’ are a feature of these events. The ‘panels’ rarely, if ever, include people who are elderly or who are in residential care themselves.

Once, (but only once) as a then 84-year-old, I was invited to join such a panel as an old but “non-resident-in-aged-care” person. The other two ‘oldies’ on the panel were residents of a facility run by a not-for-profit organisation.

This session, and the panel discussion, was very poorly attended and only by ‘frontline workers’. None of the guest speakers, or ‘stars’, attended.

For me, both then and ever since, this has illustrated the fact that the aged care industry talks about and down to its customer base, but seldom talks with them.

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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    1st Mar 2020
    My partner finished her Aged Care Cert 111 and has been trying to get a job in the industry. From what l can see they are big on rhetoric and talking themselves up, with very little effort to developing skills and aiding new qualifiers to obtain their experience. So they just get more of the same!
    1st Mar 2020
    If practical, encourage her to register for Mable carers (self employed). She will need an ABN. Mable take a little out for insurance but most Mable carers are getting $30+ per hour. When she's registered with Mable she can contact Let's Get care to see if they have clients in her area who self manage their ACAT packages. She can also advertise on Gumtree. This will give her experience in the industry
    1st Mar 2020
    We oldies may have bodies that are more suitable fort the Knackers yard but we still retain our brain power that is about 40yrs old (Mine is still 18)
    we do not need condescension or be treated as a three year old just Respect and civility is enough and to those that have lost their faculties respect and care.
    2nd Mar 2020
    I have worked in aged care sector for 15 years. I am 60. My frustration lies with management and their inability to see passed the $$$. We are on the “ frontline” caring for vulnerable people. I advocate for injustice. They try to save money by reducing the amount of incontinence aids. They give them fast food for meals. They find ways of reducing independence which brings in money with everything they take away from them. ACFI is the tool for increasing these places dollars from a person. No such thing as not for profit!!!! I don know where all this cash goes but it’s not to increase the benefits for the elderly. I also urge families to visit them more. Many are forgotten and many resign themselves to families not visiting making excuses for their children who are “ busy”. Connect with your parents who raised you and maybe we can stop these institutions from abusing the vulnerable.
    3rd Mar 2020
    I agree with Peter's comments. However issues often have to be discussed with relatives or people who have power of guardianship. The resident may not even recognise their family member and "may have to talk about them" to find out more about their condition. Some residents have "good days and bad days" They may take an hour or more to recognise you and be able to tell you anything at all.