It is with great sadness we acknowledge the passing last month of long standing and loyal research volunteer Zelma Riddell.

NARI research fellow Dr Kate O’Halloran pays tribute to Zelma:

“In the short time I have known her, Zelma left an indelible impression on me as someone who was incredibly generous to her community – and NARI in particular – without ever wanting any acknowledgement of, or spotlight on, those contributions. I admired her as someone who was fiercely independent, witty, politically informed and invested, and who had a dark, wonderful sense of humor. I will miss her and her friendship greatly – a sentiment I know is shared by many of our current and former staff, her friends and family.

As just a couple of examples of her contributions to NARI, in 2020, Zelma was an integral part of the co-design workshops held back in February as part of phase one of our primary prevention of elder abuse project funded by Respect Victoria. Her contributions were vital in the formation of what has become a pilot intergenerational phone-based intervention that we are currently recruiting for. So valued was she to this project that several months ago she was made part of our Project Advisory Group.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zelma then also volunteered to be part of a pilot research study we conducted on elder abuse and disaster. We drew on Zelma’s insight (amongst that of our other volunteers) to inform our understanding of the way physical distancing requirements have impacted older people, in some ways inadvertently exacerbating risk factors for both the experience and perpetration of elder abuse.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of Zelma Riddell’s enormous contribution to NARI over many decades as a treasured and beloved volunteer. Almost everyone who has been employed at NARI could tell you a (funny and endearing) story about Zelma, and when the time is right, I look forward to us being able to appropriately honor her incomparable legacy”.