A poll by Essential Research has found that 80 per cent of respondents believe Australia is not prepared to meet the huge challenges of an ageing population.
In the wake of these results UnitingCare National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds, said Australians are sick of “Band- Aids being applied to a broken system”.
“All around Australia people are calling for lasting improvements which would allow people to age with choice, dignity and quality care,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“Already we are struggling to meet the demand for inhome care services, residential accommodation close to family and to provide quality care for the increasing incidence of people living with dementia.
“Older Australians deserve better than what the current system offers and it will only get worse every year [we defer reform].”
Ms Hatfield Dodds said the Gillard Government’s $3.7 billion overhaul, announced on 20 April, put older Australians at the
centre of a new aged care system.
Commenting after a briefing from the Prime Minister and the Minister for Ageing, Ms Hatfield Dodds said the blueprint invests in the core components of a fundamentally reshaped aged care system that will deliver better care to older Australians now and as their needs change.
The Government said it will deliver the Living Longer Living Better plan over 10 years to deliver more choice, easier access and better care for older Australians and their families.
“More and better support to age at home, and a simpler and fairer financing system are the keystones of the new system,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“We know that older Australians want to stay in their own home and community as long as they can.
“$1 billion of the $3.7 billion of spend announced will go to care in people’s homes.
That’s a very good thing.
"UnitingCare Australia welcomes new, fair, and flexible financing arrangements.
Equity has been missing in action in aged-care financing for too long.
"We are very pleased to see measures that will ensure vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians are protected and
supported, while those who can afford to pay a fair share toward the costs of their accommodation and care, do so.
“The Government’s commitment to invest in structural reform is a welcome priority.”
Ms Hatfield Dodds said that establishing a single gateway for information and access to care, an independent financing
authority, better support of the aged care workforce and an expert implementation council will ensure the Government
delivers on the reforms.
“Finally, the focus on alleviating workforce pressures is welcome.
$1.2 B will go a long way to delivering higher wages, better training and professional development, and improved career pathways.
“The reform package invests in the structural transformation required of aged-care that will ensure a better life and better
care for older Australians.
“Over the coming days we’ll be assessing the detail of the package and we look forward to being part of implementation
“We call on all political parties to support these reforms,” she said.
UnitingCare services manage 12 per cent of all residential aged care places in Australia with over 12 000 aged care beds and a network of community care places from metropolitan to remote communities.
Photo : UnitingCare National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds. Photo courtesy of UnitingCare Australia