Daughter’s horror at Sydney aged care ‘prison’


KATRINA Colley could only bear to watch her parents live in a "horrific" Sydney aged care "prison" for two weeks before moving them to the Far North.

Ms Colley's parents, Alun and Doreen Jones, now live at Infinite Care, Caravonica, a choice for which she is infinitely grateful.

"They were in a place in Sydney for two weeks, which was horrific," Ms Colley said.

News Corp Australia has launched Aged Care 360, an investigation into the level of care provided and the money spent in the industry.

Ms Colley said she retrieved her parents from the Sydney home in April 2018.

"The centre in Western Sydney was an open facility," she said.

"People with severe dementia were walking around, there was no privacy, my parents could not lock their doors."

To see her parents in the Sydney home, Ms Colley had to be escorted to and from the front gate. "It was so old, it felt like a prison," she said.

Doreen and Alun Jones in 2020
Doreen and Alun Jones in 2020


The coronavirus pandemic, which ripped through Newmarch House in the nearby suburb of Kingswood and cost the lives of 17 residents, was a stark reminder of how close Ms Colley's parents came to catastrophe.

"They have been watching the news everyday and can see what is happening in NSW and Victoria," Ms Colley said.

"My parents were gobsmacked because COVID went rampant through Newmarch and it could have been them; they were only down the road.

"They thought 'thank God we aren't there'."

With the move to Caravonica the couple, while restricted to the home, have been able to reach their family.

"Dad figured out how to use an iPad at 89, we used it to Face Time and could ring everyday," Ms Colley said.

An independent inquiry into Newmarch has found the emergency staff that were "surged" into the centre had inadequate skills to support nursing home residents.

Alun and Doreen Jones on their wedding day in 1950
Alun and Doreen Jones on their wedding day in 1950

It was a situation that the Jones' found during their brief stay in Sydney.

"The only people that could understand what we were saying were the administration staff," Ms Colley said.

The couple are happy with their life in Caravonica.

"Some of the staff there have become very attached to my parents, they are very respectful," Ms Colley said.

"The environment really suits them very much."

The couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in a week and Ms Colley said the telegrams from royalty and heads of government had already arrived.

Originally published as Daughter's horror at Sydney aged care 'prison'