Can families expect more investment into services that will help care for our elderly as they age?
Aged care expert and My Care Path consultant Dana Sawyer breaks down what the Coalition win will mean for people entering aged care.
The Federal Election delivered a surprising win for the Coalition, with the party comfortable forming a majority government.
While the government didn’t make sweeping reforms and big promises for the aged care sector in the lead up to the election, likely due to the ongoing Aged Care Royal Commission, there were a number of pre-election commitments made by the LNP.
The government is promising more measures to address senior loneliness, best practice research into aged care, help for seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and additional aged care workers.
$10m to combat Senior Loneliness
I often come across clients who feel very guilty about placing their mum or dad into aged care. While this is completely understandable, we sometimes forget that residential aged care can help combat senior loneliness.
If an elderly person is unable to get out and about easily, doesn’t have a strong neighbour network or has family living interstate – the health effects of loneliness can be profound.
The good news is that the government has committed an additional $10 million to expand the Community Visitors Scheme for aged care and home care residents.
The Community Visitors Scheme is a program where volunteers build a friendship with an elderly person, either in their own home or in an aged care facility.
$10m to help Seniors from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds
Australia’s multi-cultural landscape means many families speak a language other than English at home.
When an elderly person speaks English as a second language, or has limited English skills, they are less likely to access the aged care services they need due to language barriers.
The Coalition has committed to an additional $7.4 million for the Aged Care Systems Navigator program, which will include Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)- specific program that will include:
- A dedicated community and online information hub
- Specially trained advisors offering one-on-one support to seniors and their families
More Aged Care Workers
The government has made it a priority for there to be 475,000 aged care workers in Australia by 2025.
The aged care sector is being given first priority in a program under the government’s Skills Service Organisations package to support future job growth.
The government will also commit $34 million to establish a research centre that examines new ways to deliver care for seniors, as well as best practice methods for training and educating aged care providers.
Overall, it’s promising to see more funding dedicated to help our culturally-diverse community as well as a commitment to combat the very serious problem of loneliness.
The aged care industry will continue to grow, so investing in more jobs for the sector and best-practice training and education should be a top priority.
The final result of the Aged Care Royal Commission will likely lead to more reforms in the aged care sector, which will hopefully lead to even better incomes for our elderly and their families.