Grant helps the forgotten

Care leavers face unique problems when entering nursing homes


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FORGOTTEN AUSTRALIANS: New project seeks to help those people entering aged care who were in institutions as children.

FORGOTTEN AUSTRALIANS: New project seeks to help those people entering aged care who were in institutions as children.

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The project helps people in aged care who, as children, were forced to live in institutions.

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IMAGINE if as a child you were taken from your home and placed in an institution where you had no rights, were abused and were told when to get up, eat, go to the toilet and sleep.

Fast forward 60 plus years and once again you are torn from your home and all that is safe and familiar and placed in an institution - this time an aged care home. You appear to have few rights, you are told when to get up, when to eat, when to toilet, when to sleep. You may be locked in a secure area and are restrained if you try to leave.

There are more than 500,000 older Australians known collectively as Forgotten Australians or Care Leavers, who were in institutions or out-of-home settings in the 20th century. Even the thought of going into aged care can be too traumatising for these vulnerable people.

Now a South Australian not-for-profit, aged care provider is seeking to address the special needs of Care Leavers with an innovative project - Forgotten Australians Real Care the Second Time Around.

Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart

Helping Hand, which has nine homes in SA, has produced a guide designed to help providers throughout Australia respond to and support the needs of those who have experienced trauma as children in state and institutional care.

Now thanks, to a $500,000 Federal Government grant it plans to extend it's project and develop tool kits and training to educate aged care providers and staff.

Helping Hand chief executive Chris Stewart said one problem was that people may not willingly volunteer information about past trauma. The proposed tool kits and training would help staff identify and support Forgotten Australians living in aged care.

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