News & Events

OCAV impresses Korean delegation

June 10, 2019

“We’ve never seen anything like this, what an amazing story,” is how Korean journalist Hye Ran Kang described her recent visit to Rushall Park.

She was one of a group of eight people – four Korean journalists, representatives from the Walkley Foundation, Australia-Korea Foundation and the Korea Press Foundation who visited Rushall Park to learn more about policies and trends in ageing in Australia.

The newspapers represented were Joongang Ilbo, The Hankyoreh, The Kyungnam Shinmun and Aju Business.

The journalists, Il Joon Cho, Yu Kyung Kim, Hyeon Mi Cho and Hye, met with CEO Phillip Wohlers and Director of Nursing Shaaron Robilliard.

Of especial interest to the group was OCAV’s continuum of care and its financial model, as well as the vision of its founders in creating villages for ‘necessitous old colonists” as well as ‘decaying actors.’

About half of Korea’s elderly live in poverty, with many having to resort to collecting cardboard boxes or even prostitution to survive.

“I could never imagine a place like this in South Korea,” Hye said.

She described parts of Seoul as being ‘elderly ghettos’ where older people lived in crowded apartments, rarely seeing their families or having been pushed out of their homes by their families.

“Many of our older people live alone have economic anxiety, are lonely and cannot access nursing care.”

In a nation known for its high-tech advances, almost half of the elderly population over the age of 65 live in poverty, according to a 2016 OECD economic survey. About a quarter live alone as the Confucian tradition of the younger generation taking care of their parents fades.

In late August 2018, South Korea officially became an “aged society”, which is defined by the United Nations as a society where those aged 65 or over exceed 14% of the total population.

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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