Profile: Sue McCann

A lady in a red blazer smiling

This article profiles a former member of the Council of Elders. For a list of current members visit Aged Care Council of Elders.

With an extensive knowledge of the aged care system, Sue McCann is a fierce advocate for older people in Australia, and she is determined to improve the lives of those in residential aged care through her role as a member of the Council of Elders.

Before retiring in 2021, Sue worked for more than 40 years in aged care as a nurse, carer, director and manager. As a board member of Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), she also represented aged care providers and workers from regional NSW for several years.

By being a member of the Council of Elders, I would like to make a difference. Good aging means being able to live the lifestyle that you desire, having the resources and the ability to be able to do that, and the support when you do need it. Individual care, being able to know the person enough to be able to support their care and needs. Having the skills and the knowledge to be able to do that as well because it is complex, it's not simple.

Sue has been the driving force behind many important initiatives in aged care and was responsible for managing the first dementia-specific facility between Newcastle and the Queensland border.

As General Manager at Lutheran Services, she led several aged care homes and services across southeast and central Queensland, including managing the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most importantly, she has contributed to the lives of those she worked with by encouraging older people receiving aged care to retain their independence.

In the late 90s Sue worked at Justinian House in North Sydney, a low care hostel where she noticed residents were overly reliant on staff. Over a few years Sue helped the residents see that they needed to be engaged and active in order to remain independent.

Residents became involved with lifestyle activities, ran a kiosk, planned the menu, and even raised enough funds through fetes and other activities to purchase a bus for the hostel.

“It’s a real privilege to think I can contribute and, hopefully, help people,” she said.

Although retired, Sue continues to support older people in Australia through her role as a member of the Council of Elders, and advocates for people to have choice, control and independence as they age.

“Person-centred care is about having some control over your life,” she said.

Sue also recognises that growing the aged care workforce is an essential part of strengthening aged care in Australia. She is currently the Group Lead of the Council of Elders Workforce Group who are closely monitoring reform activity and workforce planning.

We thank Sue for her wonderful contribution to the aged care sector and for her continued advocacy for older people in Australia.

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 Australians 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.