Aged Care Matters is a community of people who are passionate about improving aged care services. We currently have over 6,000 members – older people, families and friends, current and retired aged-care workers and others.

Aged Care Matters encourages discussion and collaboration between residents, relatives, staff, providers, policy-makers and politicians. We focus on solutions not problems. As Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.

Dr Sarah Russell, Director of Aged Care Matters, is a public health qualitative researcher who specialises in the ‘consumer’ perspective. She has been the Principal Researcher at Research Matters since 1999. Her areas of expertise include mental health, gender equality, ethics and aged care.

Last year, Sarah was endorsed as Voices endorsed Independent Candidate for Flinders. To learn more about Sarah please visit her website or to engage with Sarah, please follow her public Facebook page.

Dr Russell’s reports ‘Living Well in an Aged Care Home’ and ‘Older people living well with home support’ provide evidence about residential and in-home care. Her report ‘Working well in an aged care home’ highlights positive aspects about working in an aged care home.

Aged Care Matters believes aged care system requires greater scrutiny, accountability and transparency. We need informed discussions based on evidence, recognising the rights of older people to have the best possible support, care and quality of life. In particular, Dr Russell advocates for:

  • A new Aged Care Act that focuses on the human rights of older people
  • Effective regulation
  • Financial transparency
  • Increased staffing levels and skill mix
  • Improved training of staff
  • Registration of personal care attendants
  • Disclosure of performance indicators
  • Public access of regulator’s reports
  • Public reporting of complaints including how they were managed and resolved
  • Banning the use of antipsychotic drugs unless prescribed by a psychiatrist
  • Mandatory reporting of elder abuse
  • Home care that prioritises each individual’s need for support
  • Working with older people and families when designing aged care services
  • Stopping the illegal and unjust detention of residents in aged care homes

Many people ask Dr Russell how she became involved in aged care advocacy. This short movie explains how Sarah transitioned from a concerned relative to an advocate and more recently to an activist. In 2021, she co-founded an activist movement Aged Care Reform Now. The movement was launched in February 2021. Although Sarah is no longer a member of Aged Care Reform Now, she wishes the movement success in making aged care an election issue.

During an interview on The Project, Sarah was asked whether she had given any thought to moving into an aged care home herself. Her response shows her optimism for the aged care sector.

On the left, the young gadabouts (total age 287.4): Joan Russell (91), Frank Breadmore (90.9) and Esther Friedman (105.5) take a walk outside their aged care home. On the right, Joan Russell with her great-granddaughter.

Aged Care Matters welcomes your feedback