Seniors Rights Service is a community legal centre that protects the rights of older people. We provide telephone advice, advocacy, legal advice and educational services.
Do you have questions about navigating the aged care system? Find out how we can help you.
Contact Seniors Rights Service
Contact us by phone or email from 9am to 4:30pm on weekdays. All calls are confidential and your privacy will be protected.
We are a service for older people in New South Wales. We offer advocacy, information and legal advice including: Telephone and face-to-face advocacy for people getting aged care services at home or in an aged care home Legal advice and advocacy for people living in retirement villages Legal advice and information to all older people in NSW. Seniors Rights Service is a community legal service and is accredited by the National Association of Community Legal Centres. Seniors Rights Service is run by a Management Committee comprised of community and professional representatives as well as clients and staff. Advocacy services Seniors Rights Service is an advocacy service for people living in aged care homes or receiving in-home care. This means offering free and confidential support to aged care recipients and also promoting the rights of older people to aged care service providers. These services are funded under the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP). Seniors Rights Service operates in NSW only. See the National Advocacy Network for contact details for similar agencies in other states. The National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) The NACAP is a free and confidential service that promotes the rights of people receiving aged care services. It aims to: Provide information and advice about the rights and responsibilities of aged care recipients Support older people to be involved in decisions affecting their lives Assist residents to resolve problems or complaints about the aged care home where they live Promote the rights of older people to the wider community. The NACAP is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Legal advice Seniors Rights Service offers legal assistance to older people through the Older Persons’ Legal Service (OPLS) and the Retirement Village Legal Service.
Older Persons’ Legal Service (OPLS)
OPLS provides legal advice, assistance, referral and education for older people throughout NSW including rural, regional and remote areas. This service is for people over 60, particularly those who are socially or economically disadvantaged.
OPLS solicitors give advice on: Consumer issues
Debt management Certain contractual matters and unfair contracts Provision of goods and services. Human rights matters
Age discrimination Financial abuse, including by relatives and carers Assistance gaining access to the administration of State and Commonwealth law and programs. Alternative decision-making
Issues involving the capacity to make financial and non-financial care decisions Legal advice and assistance on Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship issues.
How does OPLS operate?
OPLS is a small legal team with a remit to assist older people who are disadvantaged. To broaden its reach, OPLS partners with Legal Aid NSW to deliver the Older Persons’ Legal and Education Program. This program aims to improve older people’s access to legal services through advice, assistance, advocacy, representation, referral and education. Legal Aid also offers a number of publications relating to legal issues for older people.
If your legal matter falls outside Seniors Rights Service’s remit, we can provide you with a copy of our referral list of private solicitors by email or post. It details which areas of law the solicitors have experience in. Some of the firms provide discounts to our callers: these discounts are also listed.
Contact OPLS to discuss your issue: Ph: 1800 424 079 Fax: (02) 9281 3672 Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS): 13 14 50
Alternatively you can call the NSW Law Society Solicitor Referral Service on 02 9926 0300.
Retirement Village Legal Service
This specialist service provides legal advice and assistance to residents of retirement villages in all aspects of retirement village law. The solicitors also visit retirement villages to conduct seminars to educate residents about their rights and responsibilities and to provide information about Seniors Rights Service.
Contact the Retirement Village Legal Service to discuss your issue: Ph: 1800 424 079 Fax: (02) 9281 3672 Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS): 13 14 50 Seniors Rights Service aged care advocates and solicitors travel across NSW to hold information sessions for aged care homes, retirement villages and community groups. These sessions aim to raise awareness about the rights of – and common concerns among – older people living in aged accommodation or receiving in-home care.
The sessions are offered to service providers and service users and their relatives and carers, as well as in-home aged care service providers, seniors groups, professional groups and others.
Popular topics are:
Aged care advocacy Retirement village living Legal issues affecting older people Seniors Rights Service – who we are and what we do Supporting diversity
Seniors Rights Service also delivers online information sessions via Skype and webinars.
The Older Persons’ Legal and Education Program
This program aims to improve older people’s access to legal services through advice, assistance, advocacy, representation, referral and education. The program is delivered by Seniors Rights Service in partnership with Legal Aid NSW.
Seniors Rights Service speakers list
Seniors Rights Service maintains a list of people who have expertise in dispute resolution and how to use complaint handling bodies and related agencies. These speakers are happy to give talks to community groups and agencies, not-for-profit organisations, government and non-government agencies, social groups and business and professional groups.
Seniors Rights Service offers information sessions about respectful treatment of aged care recipients who come from diverse communities including people who are:
Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Indigenous Care givers Live in remote locations Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual or intersex (LGBTI).
See the Seniors Rights Service publications Q&A for LGBTI and Multilingual Information Sheet for more information.
Community education and events
Seniors Rights Service provides information, publications and advice about the rights of older people at expos, open days, forums and conferences.
To book a Seniors Rights Service information session, fill in the booking form or contact:
Manager Education, Promotion & Special Projects Seniors Rights Service Level 4, 418A Elizabeth St. Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Phone: 1800 424 079 Fax number: (02) 9281 3672 Email: Click here for a full list of upcoming educational events.
Empower you to identify your rights and responsibilities
Assist you to uphold your rights
Speak on your behalf to promote your rights.
Advocacy is free, confidential and independent.
How is advocacy different from mediation, etc?
Advocacy is not:
Mediation - a way of resolving disputes with the help of a mediator. The mediator is neutral and does not take sides. Their role is to facilitate the discussion between the people in dispute and to seek a mutually acceptable solution.
Complaints investigation - there is a complaints handling scheme to investigate and resolve complaints made by individuals receiving aged care. Contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme on phone 1800 550 552.
Conciliation - a conciliator's role is not simply to encourage a settlement, but rather to participate in the process and ensure that the settlement reached is just.
What is aged care advocacy?
Aged care advocacy means offering information to people receiving aged care services about their rights and responsibilities and assisting them to uphold their rights.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your aged care services and you want to speak to someone about this, an aged care advocacy service will try to help you.
An aged care advocate speaks up for you on your behalf, when you feel disadvantaged, in a way that represents your best interests.
Aged care advocacy services are free, confidential and independent.
Is it OK to complain?
The Aged Care Act 1997 states that you have the right to complain or raise an issue of concern about the aged care you are receiving. If you have a complaint, you need to speak to a senior staff member such as the manager of the aged care home where you live, or the provider of your in-home services.
Raising issues or complaints can be beneficial for all concerned. Positive changes may be made as a result of a complaint and this can benefit all residents.
Every aged care service provider must:
Have a complaints process in place
Use this process to resolve any complaints.
Your aged care home is obliged to tell you about its complaints process and help you to use it. You can use an advocate to help you raise issues or make a complaint if you wish.
What can I complain about?
You can complain if you are unhappy with any of the services provided, such as meals, personal care, etc.
You can also complain about the way you are treated by staff or management. In short, you can complain about any aspect of the accommodation and/or care you are receiving.
How can I make a complaint?
There are three ways to make a complaint:
1. If you feel comfortable to approach management, speak to the manager or senior staff. Every service has a complaints process. You should have been told how the process works for your service when you first became a resident or client. ‘Residents and relatives’ meetings at aged care homes are another opportunity to raise issues and sort out day-to-day problems.
2. Get someone to help you make a complaint. If you feel uncomfortable about making a complaint yourself, or you are not sure about what to do, or you simply want support and advice, Seniors Rights Service can assist you to raise your concerns.
3. Contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme. Anyone can make a complaint either in writing, or by phone or e-mail. A staffer will listen to your concerns, discuss options, and make a preliminary assessment of the complaint. If accepted, they will work with you and your service provider to resolve your complaint. The Scheme is free and can be contacted on 1800 550 552.
Can Seniors Rights Service assist me in making a complaint?