Ian Hardy, the long-standing chief executive officer of South Australian aged care provider Helping Hand, has announced he will step down at the end of this year.
Mr Hardy has worked in the aged care sector for more than 30 years including 28 leading Helping Hand, a not-for-profit provider of residential and home aged care and retirement living services.
Mr Hardy was awarded the honorary title of University Fellow by UniSA in 2005 and appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for services to the community including for developing better aged care services.
He has sat on several government advisory groups for aged and community care, most recently for the development of the new aged care standards.
Mr Hardy has been a strong advocate for the rights of older people to live a life with dignity and choice and Helping Hand became an early adopter of consumer directed care under his leadership.
He said deciding to retire was difficult because much of his career has been dedicated to Helping Hand and its community of residents, clients, families and staff and the role is still fulfilling and satisfying.
However, with the organisation’s service footprint, geographic reach and research collaborations increasing and “extraordinarily stable executive team,” after 28 years in the same job “it seems like the right time,” Mr Hardy said.
“One can always do more within an organisation but I will leave satisfied that I leave with such good people to handle the challenges,” Mr Hardy told Australian Ageing Agenda.
He said he is most proud of being part of conceptualising, building and piloting the first ageing-in-place residential facility in Australia in the 1990s, when Helping Hand integrated aged care hostel and nursing home care for the first time.
“My one regret is I won’t be part of the system as home care matures and I won’t be around to see the deregulation of residential care,” Mr Hardy said.
However, he said he would continue to follow developments in the sector in addition to maintaining a few ongoing engagements, including as chair of the Strategic Review Panel of the Wicking Trust, which is large non-government funder of ageing research in Australia.
“I feel privileged to have led this outstanding organisation for 28 years and believe Helping Hand is in a strong position to lead from the front in this new era of consumer driven aged care services.”
Helping Hand chairperson Rosalie Pace said Mr Hardy has always been a catalyst for change in the aged care sector.
“His contribution to Helping Hand, the community and the sector has been significant and will help secure a path for better aged care services across the country.”
Helping Hand said a national search is underway for a new chief executive officer.
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