Page updated December 20, 2019

New integrated free services for seniors in east

December 20, 2019

Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) has launched ROSE, its new integrated and free legal, financial and social support services for seniors living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne experiencing or at risk of elder abuse.

The ROSE team comprises a Community Lawyer, Advocate, and Financial Counsellor. The team provides advice, ongoing case management support and referrals based on the client’s wishes and needs.

ROSE is based in ECLC’s Boronia office. The ROSE team can travel to other ECLC and partner offices and outreach locations for clients with mobility and other challenges.

Seniors can contact ROSE directly. ROSE also receives referrals from workers and is available for secondary consultations and to discuss and/or request a referral form.

Contact ROSE on M: 0429 697 960 or email ROSE.

How did the name of ROSE come about?

Seniors in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne chose the name of ROSE (Rights of Seniors in the East) for ECLC’s new holistic service for seniors at risk of or experiencing abuse (physical, psychological/emotional, financial, sexual or neglect) from a person in a position of trust.

In September 2019, ECLC consulted its senior communities to find out what words, values and phrases resonated with them and those that they found offensive and/or over-used when the rest of the community refers to seniors.

Through individual interviews and community focus groups, the participants got the opportunity to talk about their experiences of aging, the experiences of their friends and families, and their knowledge of elder abuse.

The participants reported that they did not like any of the terms usually used to describe them:

  • elder
  • older person
  • elderly senior.

While some participants reported that they did not mind the use of ‘elderly’ or ‘older,’ the least offensive term they found was ‘senior’.

One female participant said “I don’t feel old.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities who were consulted felt that the term ‘elder’ was inappropriate as it describes people in the ATSI community who have been appointed to a leadership role in the community. They also felt ‘elder abuse’ was inappropriate.

Most participants were aware of the recently used (and not well understood) term ‘elder abuse’ and several described examples of elder abuse experienced by friends or family, or reported in the media. Some expressed interest in knowing their rights, feeling supported and were positive about the future, not cynical.

For other participants, the future was uncertain and raised concerns. In particular, they were concerned about losing their independence, being unsure about their future and wanting reassurance that they will have a secure future.

Comments included, “What happens if we have to go into a nursing home?’ and “I want the confidence that I’ll be OK in the situation.”

Participants wanted the name they chose to reflect the following values:

  • Respect
  • Independence
  • Harmony (within the family unit)
  • Community
  • Bright/better future/tomorrow
  • Informed

They did not like the use of ‘empowerment’ and ‘protection’, and felt these terms are over-used.

The ATSI participants reported that the following values were important for their community:

  • Respect
  • Caring and sharing
  • Gratitude
  • Love
  • Family

An Aboriginal female elder said, “Respect is the most important thing for our community.”

ROSE is funded by the Australian Government under the National Plan to respond to abuse of older Australians.

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