SPEECH | Aged Care Workshop; Creatively addressing the aged care challenge

Thank you for having me. For those I have not yet met, for your knowledge, I have worked with Ron Corso since 2010 through the UniSA Idea Generation class. We have written two papers specifically looking at the combination of creativity and social media – and the conversation which continues to flow online for the generation of ideas. When he suggested I help him today, because of the topic subject, I was excited! Thank you. I have decided to provide a general personal view, rather than stats and figures.


The great opportunity within this room, is, we won’t get out of this challenge alive.

Meaning, we all have an investment in making our lives better, easier and more fulfilling for our future – and we can demonstrate leadership in making this happen.

The Australian aged care industry is a rapidly growing and changing sector.

You could say the current changes and pace are akin to how fast Facebook took over the communications space 10 years ago.

Hands up if you think that time has passed quick.

It seems incredible that a simple idea like Facebook would revolutionise and take over the way we connect – and yet, it is still formulating and we are still talking, and in some cases arguing, about how we should use it.

Go on admit it, who still whinges about Facebook?

If I turn my attention to aged care – yes, we have come a long way. The people in this room, I am sure, would be well versed in the reshaping of the aged care industry from Living Longer, to reviews and inquiries being announced almost daily. You can check those out on Facebook.


I hear regularily “you dont want to end up in aged care” and yet my mum currently living in a “traditional nursing home” wouldnt want to live anywhere else.

So, there are huge contraditions in the marketplace.

But that’s what consumer choice is all about.

I personally criticised a report which recently came out in the media detailing preventable deaths in aged care. Why? Well, because the referenced study was conducted prior to 2013.

My criticism was because in my mind (just coming out of working directly within an aged care provider) was

“they needed to keep up with the times”.

The industry has moved on. In the main.

I’ll clarify; the more progressive aged care organisations who needed to create efficiencies within their workplaces for economical reasons, (and certainly for service offerings in light of industry reshaping earlier this year), have moved on or are knee deep in significant change management project implementations.

You can take that cynically, or you can take that as “any respective business needs to reshape itself in changing times to survive the marketplace”.

It’s all about perspective.


My own time in aged care has been short – only 4 years. 2.5 of those actually working in it. Prior to working in it, I was doing corporate communications for corporates.

This aged care cottage industry was new to me – but it wasn’t long before I shook the pinny off and settled into reshaping ideas and concepts where I personally could within my delegated duties. Yes, I introduced Facebook. Actually, I also introduced Twitter, Instagram, blogging, videos and pinning. The result? Well, it only took two years…

I got tapped on the shoulder and now work for the Aged Care Industry Association, spreading my joy for aged care across the entire sector. My appointment didn’t surprise anyone; least of all my mother.

My mother is living proof and testament to how far the aged care industry has come in the last 4 years.

My aged care journey started full thrust when my mother broke her back. It started inside hospitals, respite centres, doctors, specialists, Centrelink, Medicare, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. She had serious health issues (heart and arthritis ending with a mini stroke). She now lives in residential care.

They have rehabilitated her well and she is now yet another delightful old lady living her days, happily painting pictures, sitting in the garden with the sun on her face and whinging about the food.

She is one story in a hundred across our state.

Did you know there will be 50 Million Americans turning 65 in November?

Just imagine if they were all like Trump. Would you want to work in aged care if they were?

OK, so my day job.

The Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) believes in the value of good advice and education to support members in their journey… We are the only South Australian-based and headquartered organisation supporting aged care providers.

For today’s discussions, I’d love for you to think about what exactly is old.

What even is aged care?

I was asked to answer; what is keeping me awake at night? What issues would I like to see resolved? It’s a really big question and you’ll hear from Ron about tackling really big issues by using creative thinking during this workshop.

My own personal thoughts are limited with the day to day machinations of an industry, my day job, the care for my mother, my experiences, and the resulting frustrations.

I see a focus on the little things in my industry, the task orientation, the scrabble to fix things, the not looking at the bigger picture. Yes, it achieves some and I can say, every day people inspire me with great ideas. But they don’t seem to gain real impact. So what keeps me awake at night, is really that I would like us to achieve a Facebook impact”.

Easy right?

I’d like to see South Australia on the map, best case, best ideas, global impact in aged care. I’d love to see the leadership to generate ideas and concepts to move us forward as a society and seriously tackle and resolve some of the big dilemmas we face with enthusiasm, passion, drive and commitment which is shown to other generations (of age) and other complex issues.

Why do I want that? Well, because we are all living longer. I don’t wish to reach my mum’s age (83) and not have some of this stuff resolved.

So, there. We together have 30 years to achieve a result. Go.

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