Marj is a 76-year-old Forgotten Australian. While in institutional 'care', Marj was repeatedly sexually abused by people that whom she was supposed to be able to trust and feel safe. The effects of this trauma have followed her well into her adult life including a young marriage where she was subjected to domestic and financial abuse. She has children and, despite some difficulties, has been able to develop a good relationship with them.
Marj lives alone in public housing and has assistance fortnightly to clean her home. She is eligible for extra support but is unable to afford the co-payment and is scared and embarrassed to ask for the help needed to rectify this issue. Like many Forgotten Australians, Marj is a cigarette smoker, and this addiction contributes to her financial troubles. Because of this, Marj often feels judged and ashamed when asking for extra support and even in day-to-day life. Due to the financial abuse, she has suffered in the past, she is also nervous when talking about money and will often start crying, adding to her embarrassment and trouble being taken seriously.
If Marj, as a Care Leaver, was automatically exempted from aged care co-payments it would enable her to receive a higher level of support which, at the least, would allow her to get out of her home and increase her opportunities for social interaction with others.
This story was part of the submission to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety. The name has been changed for the individuals' privacy.