Here is the introduction to the 5,000 word ‘trash Aveo’ piece that appeared last Saturday in Fairfax’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. It says:
“Embattled retirement village operator Aveo is spruiking a 1960s “casino fun night” at one of its NSW sites at the end of this month to celebrate the success of the listed giant’s new Freedom Aged Care business – some residents, though, are in no mood to party”.
“Despite the casino party’s pitch that Freedom “loves” to see happy residents and that it encourages “them to remain young at heart”, many Freedom customers have told Fairfax Media that the reality of life in the villages does not match the sales pitch, while retirement village residents they feel pressured to take up the expensive aged care package – whether they need it or not”.
“The fancy-dress party at Banora on Friday night to celebrate Freedom follows a string of visits by senior Aveo management across the country to hose down allegations made in a joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation that the company is engaged in questionable practices”.
Here is what Shirley Redwood, Chairperson of the Banora Point Resident committee wrote to Fairfax in return (23 July):
“Firstly I must strongly point out that the “Casino Fun Night” which was held on Friday, July 21st, was NOT in celebration of ANYTHING! It is a social fun night which is run at our Village here at Banora Point every twelve months or so. We have had four such nights in recent years. And the residents are ALWAYS ready to party. Indeed, the Casino fun night was first started a few years ago, even before Freedom or Aveo entered the scene. The Village was then called Ocean View/Tall Trees Independent Living. AND it is organised by our Resident Activities Co-ordinator.
As Chairperson of the Residents’ Committee at Freedom Aged Care Banora Point, I can confidently say that everyone at the Village who attended enjoyed the “Casino” night again, as they have done in the past. To say that Aveo was “spruiking” this event to celebrate the success of the Freedom Aged Care business is completely untrue, and an apology from your journalists should be forthcoming. It would seem that journalists put their own “spin” on a story”.
No apology has been forthcoming.
How would you respond? How should the retirement sector respond?