Residential Aged Care Communique November 2019
Welcome to the final issue of the Residential Aged Care Communiqué for the year 2019. By now most of you will have read parts or all of the interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. We are proud that our team’s research was cited and quoted in parts of the report. It is a challenging time to be working in aged care with so many negative findings being made. It is important however, to reflect on the positive contributions made by each person working or volunteering in aged care, and to remind ourselves that it is a joy and privilege to be involved in the lives of older people. We should also use this opportunity to advocate for real and sustained change in aged care. It is imperative that the critical issues that have been present for many years are now addressed in a timely and comprehensive way.
Sadly, this issue of the RAC- Communiqué addresses the rarely discussed subject of sexual violence in aged care. It is a matter that was not covered by the interim report of the Royal Commission. We are all aware of the high prevalence of sexual violence in the community, however, there is a general misconception that sexual violence against older persons, and older persons who live in residential aged care (RAC), is uncommon. This misconception is partly due to societal ageism and sexism – that is, older persons, especially women, are not sexually active, nor desirable and therefore are naturally protected from anything sexual – including sexual violence.
The content in this RAC- Communiqué is confronting and distressing. It is not easy to read but, read it we must otherwise nothing will change. We should draw on the courage of Margarita Solis who shares her experience of being sexually assaulted at the age of 94 years. Our commentaries are written by Daisy Smith, a research officer with the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University who describes the findings of a study into reports of sexual violence against older persons in Victoria over a 15 year period, and Meghan Wright and Ashleigh May who completed their Honours year investigating the “Interventions Used to Manage Sexual Violence in University Residencies” and “RACS readiness for change in addressing sexual violence”, respectively. Linda McAuliffe, a psychologist and Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care (ACEBAC) provides an insightful article on sexuality of older persons.
The above is the Editorial from the Residential Aged Care Communique, November 2019 Edition. To read the entire document please go to Communique November 2019.