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Our national team of advocates is available Monday to Friday 8am–8pm and Saturday 10am-4pm 

Self-advocacy toolkit

What you need to know for better aged care

Self-advocacy or speaking up means having the right information to get the care and support you need. Explore the topics below to start.

Home Self-advocacy toolkit Your aged care rights Who is OPAN and what is self-advocacy?

Who is OPAN and what is self-advocacy?

OPAN helps tens of thousands of older people resolve their issues with government-funded aged care services each year. 

Older people, their families and other representatives often call us when they 

  • are finding it difficult to access aged care services 
  • have a concern about their aged care services 
  • don’t feel like their aged care services are meeting their needs 
  • want to make a complaint. 

Our national team of advocates is here to ensure your rights are upheld and your wishes are met, whether you are living independently at home or in residential care. 

Our services are free, independent and confidential.

OPAN’s advocates are always available to provide information and support to older people and their families. However, there may be times when you want to speak up for yourself.  

What is self-advocacy?

Self-advocacy puts you in the driver’s seat. It is the ability to speak up for yourself on issues that are important to you. Speaking up for yourself can be empowering and supports your independence.

You might want to speak up – using self-advocacy when you

  • are finding it difficult to access aged care services
  • have a concern about your aged care services
  • don’t feel like your aged care services are meeting your needs
  • want to make a complaint.

OPAN’s Self-advocacy toolkit aims to make it easier for you to access the information you need to speak up for better aged care.

You can also access this information as a print booklet below or order a copy today.

If you run into problems, or you just need to talk things over, our professional aged care advocates are here for support.

Self-advocacy - speaking up

Self-advocacy – or speaking up – puts you in the driver’s seat. It’s about maintaining your own power, and ‘knowledge is power.’ Gwenda Darling, a member of OPAN’s National Older Persons Reference Group, explains self-advocacy and shares her tips for getting the services you need to age well.

Documents and external links

Learn more about OPAN and self-advocacy. These documents and websites offer help, strategies, and practical information. Brief descriptions are provided for each document or link.

A guide to self-advocacy - what you need to know for better aged care

This OPAN guide gives you steps to follow and some practical tips to help you get started with self-advocacy or speaking up. Being confident to speak up for yourself can take time. It takes planning, patience and sometimes, persistence. Download or print it for easy access.

Self-advocacy toolkit - print booklet

OPAN’s Self-advocacy toolkit print booklet contains a step-by-step guide to making yourself heard and checklists to help you speak up for better in home and residential care. It also covers your aged care options when leaving hospital and tips for making an effective complaint.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

Learn more about our network and how we support and give a voice to older people across Australia.

Aged Care Engagement Hub Department of Health and Aged Care

A range of changes are being made to aged care, in response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. There are a range of ways you can be involved in the reforms, including surveys, webinars, online workshops, consultation papers and face-to-face events.

Need more support?
Call 1800 700 600