Relationships Australia has launched a new counselling and mediation service to support families who need help negotiating complex issues related to ageing.

The Elder Relationship Service will run as a pilot for one year in five states and will be staffed by trained counsellors and mediators with specific skills in elder services.

“It’s a common story as we age that family conflict emerges around significant health issues, where older parents will live or how estates will be divided,” said Alison Brook, national executive officer of Relationships Australia.

She said the service aims to help older people and families resolve differences and facilitate referrals to appropriate support such as health and aged care services.

The trial will assess demand for this type of service and identify strategies for working with advocacy groups and aged care services to improve outcomes for older people.

“We also want to support families to plan for future medical, health, financial or living arrangements and make decisions that protect the interests, rights and safety of all family members,” Ms Brook said.

The pilot service will run in Canberra, Adelaide, Launceston, Wagga Wagga in NSW, Kew in Victoria, and Moreton Bay in Queensland.

People can attend the service on their own, with their partner or extended family.

Following the 12-month trial, the service will undergo an evaluation.

For more information visit Relationships Australia website or call 1300 364 277.

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  1. Is it assumed that families in Western Australia do not have conflict? Why no service here?
    Rather than employ and train new counsellors and mediators, use the funding to train Allied Health Professionals such as Occupational Therapists who are already involved in community and residential aged care?
    There are so many new initiatives by the government in an attempt to address problems which is very admirable, but spare a thought for the trained Allied Health Professionals who are being made redundant with every “new” initiative. More thought and planning needs to go into how to best utilise available expertise.

  2. Your poll on whether or not we support the government fining RACFs for incorrectly reporting findings to meet ACFI funding is an interesting issue. On the one hand funding is insufficient to meet needs and so habitual, inaccurate reporting is justified as a means to an end. What is really upsetting though, are the vast number of residents in aged-care facilities who are incorrectly reported to have dementia or other ailments just to ensure funding will flow. This is a gross injustice. Maybe a collaborative revision of how funding is managed is due.

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