Discrimination commissioner stands down

After almost seven years, Dr Kay Patterson is vacating the role of Age Discrimination Commissioner.

After almost seven years, Dr Kay Patterson is vacating the role of Age Discrimination Commissioner.

During her tenure, Dr Patterson – a former cabinet minister, senator and academic –increased community awareness about elder abuse and the supports available.

She also strongly advocated for older women at risk of homelessness, challenged ageist thinking, and promoted positive intergenerational relationships.  

One of Dr Patterson’s latest projects – Changing perceptions – examined the effectiveness of education adjusting attitudes toward ageing. The project involved training more than 300 aged care and community workers across Australia.

Craig Gear

In response to Dr Patterson’s departure, Craig Gear – CEO of the Older Persons Advocacy Network – said: “Dr Patterson has been a powerful and consistent voice in the fight against ageism, and a passionate advocate for the rights of older people. After decades of services to parliament, and the community, Dr Patterson’s influence cannot be underestimated.”

Mr Gear said OPAN is especially grateful of Dr Patterson’s support for its #ReadyToListen Project, which is aimed at preventing sexual assault in residential aged care.

“This is part of a wider legacy around the prevention of all forms of elder abuse, for which Dr Patterson has advocated tirelessly.”

Mr Gear was among those who attended a farewell event for Dr Patterson in Adelaide on Tuesday, hosted by OPAN’s South Australian member organisation Aged Rights Advocacy Services.

Appearing at the National Press Club of Australia on 28 June, Dr Patterson identified nationally consistent enduring powers-of-attorney and a national powers-of-attorney register as the two policies “that would have the most impact on the wicked problem that is elder abuse.”

“Harmonisation would make it easier for families to look after older family members in other jurisdictions, and for people to be educated about their rights and attorneys about their responsibilities,” she said.

Dr Patterson steps down as Age Discrimination Commissioner later this month.

Main image: Dr Kay Patterson

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Tags: Age Discrimination Commissioner, Craig Gear, Dr Kay Patterson, opan,

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