News & Events

From the CEO

June 25, 2018

We may be heading rather rapidly into the middle of 2018 but here at OCAV, there is no time for hibernation.

The last six weeks have been hectic on different fronts, as we continue our commitment to evolve into industry leaders, find ways of assisting more older Victorians in need, and to ensure that OCAV is a happy and vibrant place to live and work.

A highlight was the launch at Parliament House of Living Communities Age Well, an independent social return on investment evaluation which shows that every dollar invested in OCAV creates over $7.41 of value for residents, the community and the Federal and State Governments.

We deliberately chose Parliament House as the setting as we have our own Act of Parliament, were founded by one of Victoria’s first politicians George Coppin, and it was a gift of land from the then Victorian Government that enabled the creation of our first village, Rushall Park.

The gathering at Parliament House brought politicians from all parties together with industry leaders, philanthropists, residents and staff to learn more about our extraordinary operating model and continuum of care.

Living Communities Age Well is the kick start to our campaign for a gift of land and $30 million towards the development of new villages to house and support more older Victorians in need.  As is evident in the growing media debate, Australia needs to solve its housing crisis, and we know we have a sustainable and successful solution for housing the elderly. We will have more to say about this in future issues.

More recently we marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by wearing purple to draw attention to the growing incidence of abuse. We have zero tolerance for elder abuse at OCAV. We are also committed to educating and training our staff and volunteers about elder abuse, and providing a safe space for any of our residents who believe they are victims to this insidious practice.

We are looking forward to working with La Trobe University and industry partner Champagne Soda on researching whether virtual reality makes any difference to the well-being of older residents, and especially whether it can help to break down social isolation. This is just one research project we are exploring, and one which we hope will provide new thinking as we gain momentum in our endeavours to become a dementia friendly community.

It was a great pleasure to welcome Dr Kay Patterson, Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner to be the keynote speaker at our second Conversations for Change, Let’s Retire Retirement. I was delighted to announce that our Council has retired retirement at OCAV. From now on, residents will be able to be work and live here. The decision reflects the reality that the pension is not huge, and that working or volunteering contributes to good ageing.

One thing is always clear to me: older people are not failed copies of the young. They have much to give and we have much to learn from them. This is especially apparent in the intergenerational project with Fitzroy High School, where young VCAL students have been meeting regularly with some of our residents to learn about each other’s lives. This is the second year that this project has been running, and the results are extraordinary. Some residents are now mentoring students through Year 12, while others have become firm friends.

As you will read, our residents are agents for change when it comes to challenging ageism. They rejoice in growing older, ageing well and being part of a living community. As CEO of this extraordinary organisation, there is never the chance to hibernate.

The apartments are beautiful, with lovely, open and bright rooms, and a balcony for growing plants in pots. I am starting to make my apartment into a home.

– Catherine, Leith Park

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