Meet Gillian Groom, member of the Council of Elders

An older woman smiling warmly while seated in a modern, comfortable indoor setting. Her expression and relaxed posture suggest a sense of contentment and engagement in a pleasant environment.

Gillian Groom is a member of the Aged Care Council of Elders. The council provides advice to the government about aged care and ageing well. Council members engage with and inform older people about proposed changes to aged care.

Gillian has lived and worked in Tasmania for most of her life. For 50 years, she worked as an occupational therapist. More recently she completed a law degree at the University of Tasmania.  Gillian is committed to her community working with people from diverse backgrounds, including First Nations people and those living with a disability.

Gillian has been a member of the council since its inception in 2021. She says: “I am grateful for the opportunity to help shape policy in health and ageing. It is good to use my OT and legal skills for this purpose. I like being an advocate for people.”

In 2020, Gillian was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). This honour recognises her distinguished service to the community through healthcare, medical research, social welfare organisations and the law.

Watch the video to find out more about Gillian and the role of the Council of Elders:

My name is Gillian Groom. I live in Hobart in Tasmania and I'm a member of the Council of Elders.

At the age of 65 I thought I would like to take on a law degree. I wasn't terribly confident that I could do it, but that happened, and I graduated and was finally admitted to the Supreme Court. I've been able to use those skills now for ten years, and it's added another layer and very important dimension to the contribution I can make to aged care reform.

It's a current trend now in any sort of reform to bring in the expertise and the experience, the life experience, of the cohort where the reforms are taking place. That seems such a no-brainer, but it hasn't been the way things have been done in the past. And so having the opportunity as an older person to reflect my life experience, it's quite long now, having that opportunity is priceless. I can articulate ways in which things can change and not necessarily cost more, such as remaining active, healthy, engaged in the surroundings and community, contributing, remaining alive not in the literal sense, but to the issues and helping to change them.

We get older. We don't choose, but we can choose how we spend the time as we age, and that's what I'm particularly interested in.

Gillian is passionate about the future of ageing in Australia and wants to ensure all people have access to safe and high-quality care. “Through my career and advocacy work, I saw first-hand how ageing in place, staying physically and mentally healthy, and connected to community, positively impacts a person’s wellbeing as they age”.

To keep up-to-date with the aged care reforms and the work of the council, visit the Aged Care Council of Elders Facebook page or website.

Let's change aged care, together

Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.

The changes mean Older people will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.

To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.

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The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.