Kerrie Laurence

Older Persons Advocacy Network

Hearing the Voices of Older People – What makes quality aged care

Wednesday 12 October 2022

11:05am – 11:50am

Speaker Bio

Kerrie Laurence was recently selected by OPAN as a member of the National Older Person’s Reference Group. Kerrie supported and cared for, both her parents with dementia, both in home and in residential settings. As the key person responsible she assisted and supported her parents in decision making around in home support, medical, health, social and financial areas.

Kerrie currently works part time for the Guardianship Division of NCAT (previously Guardianship Tribunal of NSW Department of Ageing and Disability). She has prior professional experience as an Aged Care Quality Assessor for ACAT and prior to her retirement last year was Manager for NSW Department of Communities and Justice (Communities), managing a unit of child protection investigators.  Kerrie is a current community member on the Guardianship division of NCAT where she assists older people to understand the guardianship hearing process and ensures they have an opportunity to express their views, experiences and issues without undue stress or influence. Coupled with her personal experience as a carer, Kerrie has a strong understanding of many of the issues in aged care and is able to reflect on and present the broad perspectives of people across Australia. 


The experience of most adults in Australia is self-determination, acknowledgement of personhood, assumed competency in every-day life and assumed capacity under the law. However, these assumptions are not extended to all adults, especially older people. Ageism involves the withdrawal of the underlying assumptions of capacity and competency, the failure to uphold the rights of ‘older’ adults and eventually, the loss of their self-determination.

All older people have the capacity and right, as with anyone in the community, to make choices about the care and services they receive and the risks they are willing to take. However, the opposite assumption about older people holds for many. Poorly designed consultation processes or engagement strategies, a belief that consumers of services cannot be engaged in governance or advisory structures and limited understanding of how to truly engage consumers in genuine care planning and beyond, means that the voices of older people are often unintentionally silenced.

This panel session will bring together the voices of a diverse group of older people from OPAN’s National Older Persons Reference Group. NOPRG consists of people aged from 50 – 93, from across Australia, who represent the diversity of older people accessing aged care including First Nations, CALD, LGBTIQ+, veterans, people living in rural and remote areas, those with disability and those living with dementia. NOPRG members are active in their communities and networks, have accessed, are accessing or caring for people accessing aged care and/or the NDIS. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with any who listen.

The panel will explore what makes an aged care provider a quality provider and how providers can drive change within their services to be truly consumer centric. It will explore how best to engage with older people, the important roles they can play on governance and advisory structures and how providers can support choice and dignity of risk. Audience members will be encouraged to submit questions prior to the session that the panel can respond to as well as taking questions directly from the audience. The panel will also engage providers with tips and ideas on how to better engage with older people within their services.

This session will be an opportunity for providers to hear directly from older people, who will be honest, open, sometimes critical, and sometimes positive about their experiences.

To place consumers at the centre of your service you must hear & listen to the voices of older people