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Help older people to get the information and support they desperately need

You can help older people like Joan* get the information and support they desperately need.

Thank you for your interest in our work with older Victorians. You are so important to COTA Victoria – and older people like Joan.

Together, we can help older people get the information and support they need – so they are not taken advantage of – and they can make good decisions affecting their everyday lives and their futures.

How COTA Victoria Helped Joan

Joan had moved into a retirement village and was feeling good about her choice. She had worked out that she could afford it and she liked the place and the people. She thought it would provide the comfort she needed at this time of her life.

But, four years later, things were not so good. Extra financial charges kept being imposed – and nothing like these had been mentioned when she had been thinking of moving in. And Joan was worried she could no longer afford to stay there.

She tried to question management. But they just kept pressuring her to sign a new agreement. And Joan felt intimidated. What would be the repercussions if she held out and insisted that the new charges were not fair and not in her original agreement?
In the end she felt forced into signing the new agreement.

But Joan was still deeply worried about her future. And that was when she phoned COTA Victoria and our Seniors Information Victoria service. Joan talked to our Information Support Staff. They listened to her story, her concerns and her wishes. Then they gave her information about her rights as a retirement village resident. And they linked her to the relevant advocacy services.

Joan immediately felt relieved – this was the help she so badly needed.

And that proved to be the case: the legality of the new agreement was challenged because Joan had signed it under duress; and she was supported to find a new retirement village with a fair and affordable agreement. It was a huge relief for Joan that COTA Victoria had listened to her and then helped her get access to the other services she needed. Now she could feel she was being fairly treated and she started to feel good again about where she was living.

‘COTA’s Seniors Information Victoria gave me back my peace of mind and security for my future,’ said Joan.

Each year COTA Victoria helps over 5,000 people like Joan through its Seniors Information Service. And our advocacy never stops.

Our work goes beyond helping individuals like Joan. Joan’s voice was added to COTA Victoria’s advocacy campaign during the Parliamentary Inquiry into Retirement Living. We compiled a written submission for the Inquiry and, as COTA Victoria’s CEO, I appeared before the Inquiry, addressed them and answered their questions. We also met with the Minister’s office and the Department of Consumer Affairs. It was such an important opportunity for us to represent the interests of older people and give voice to people like Joan.

COTA Victoria is pleased that, after the Inquiry’s Report was released, some positive changes were proposed, especially around contracts and handling of disputes. But COTA Victoria continues to advocate for more positive change and is especially calling for the establishment of a Retirement Living Ombudsman.

But we need your help to do this work for Joan and for older Victorians. We are seeking your financial support to enable us to help more people in the next year – and extend our representation of older people.

With your help, we can achieve positive change for individuals and older people generally. Together, we can give older people the reassurance and comfort they deserve.

Please consider putting your hand up and saying ‘Yes, I will help older people today.’ If you can make a gift – whatever gift you are comfortable with – to assist older Victorians, please:

We will send you a tax-deductible receipt – and our heartfelt thanks for helping older people.

We really hope you will join us.

Warm regards

Ronda Held
Chief Executive Officer

*Joan’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

Donations can be made on line at https://cotavic.org.au/get-involved/bequests-and-donations/

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