National Seniors Australia today announced the appointment of the organisation’s Research Director Professor John McCallum as CEO.
Prof. McCallum joined the independent advocacy group for older Australians in December 2016. He has been acting in the role of CEO since May this year.
Board Chairman Chris Guille said Prof. McCallum, the leading Australian aged care researcher of his generation, was ideally experienced to guide the organisation through a period of great change and challenges.
“Prof. McCallum has a lengthy and illustrious career in research relating to health and ageing, along with senior management roles in universities and national research organisations,” Mr Guille said.
“He began with fundamental work on retirement to Australia’s major longitudinal study of health and ageing, the Dubbo Study, then was instrumental in establishing research translation activities at the National Health and Medical Research Council.
“Since joining National Seniors in late 2016 he and his team have completed 22 research reports related to the quality of life for older Australians. How seniors cope in an increasingly digitised world, and what they need – and deserve – to ensure they have access to vital information and services (such as telephone and face-to-face assistance) has featured.
“He is passionate about bringing consumer voices into the big policy debates and, more generally, into the public dialogue about our ageing society and social life generally.
“On behalf of National Seniors, he has been involved in formulating the terms of reference for the recently announced Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, ensuring consumer views are heard and advocating options for better services.
“The Board believes Prof. McCallum is ideally placed to lead our organisation through what is a critical time in ensuring older Australians receive the services and care they deserve.”
Prof. McCallum said he was pleased to be taking on the role of CEO, while also retaining responsibility for the organisation’s research.
“A key part of our recent research has focussed on workforce training for home and aged care workers, and it is apparent better basic training, including how to deal with dementia, along with the use of new technologies, is needed,” Prof. McCallum said.
“Many older people are being cared for by their partners, or other family members, who are already at their limit and can’t be expected to do more. At the very least, carers need more accessible training and more respite options.
“Loneliness is another major issue for older people – it’s not just a sad reality, but injurious to health. It is appalling that we have an estimated 40% of people in nursing homes who never have a visitor. This is a community issue that we can’t blame the government for.”