The future wellbeing of our frail aged and most vulnerable is in their communities hands. They and we can no longer solely rely on the Australian government to protect us from harm and suffering should we become frail and dependent.
The Facts We Can't Ignore
One reason is that Australia’s population is ageing with the proportion of people aged 65 and over rising.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics between now and 2050
- The number of older people (65-84 years will double)
- The number of older people (85 and over) will quadruple.
- Simultaneously, the proportion of working aged people in the total population is expected fall to 60%.
To put this into perspective currently there is approximately 5 people of traditional working aged for every two 65+ person.
By 2050 it is estimated that there will only be 2.7 people of working aged for every person 65+
The second reason is changes to pension eligibility and aged care funding.
The Australian government has been aware for some time that our increasing ageing population will place significant strain on the Australian budget.
To address the issue the government has shifted from a Social Welfare Aged and Disability policy model to a “Consumer Directed Care” policy model. This means that the government considers ageing and aged care outcomes to be the responsibility of the aged individual, as well as that of the service providers they rely upon.
In other words, the Australian government has created policies with the intention of distancing themselves from responsibility or liability with respect to funding the health and wellbeing of all our aged population.
By distancing themselves from responsibility, the government will also have less control over the running and quality standards of Aged Care service providers and organisations.
As a result, many of our existing and future frail aged will be subject to how each individual aged care organisation is managed and the quality of care they provide.
Despite current government standards in relation to aged care delivery, today’s Australian government needed to involve a Royal Commission to investigate why many of our frail aged and most vulnerable are suffering in the hands of those “contracted” to provide quality care services.
The third reason is that, over time, it will be increasingly difficult to become eligible for the Australian aged pension and government subsidised funded aged care services. Presently the pension and access to services is already being means tested which impacts many of our aged community, especially those on a part pension. Only full pensioners are automatically eligible for subsidised government aged care services.
Lastly, although the majority of older adults wish to remain in their own homes and communities throughout their old age, approximately 28% of males and 46% of females will be admitted into residential care at some point. Many reasons for premature residential care are avoidable. Examples include; inability to afford home care, decreased family or social support, inappropriate home set up, inability to afford equipment and aids, lack of awareness to what health and services are available.
Charlies Gift’s mission is to identify the needs of our frail aged and most vulnerable by working together with our local hospitals, health care services, aged care and residential providers along with other local charities to enable more equitable and quality aged care delivery.
Make a difference right now
By bridging the gap between what is available to our aged community in relation to aged care services and support and what is still needed.
Further Information Based on Research and Resources
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, stated; “The Government has put their three pillar retirement income policy in place too late to provide an adequate income in retirement for the large baby boomer group of Australians”. What is the purpose of this income policy? “to encourage self-provision in retirement and reduce the future cost of public (unfunded) pension schemes”.
Research from the National Seniors Australia and Group Homes Australia stated in their summary “Worryingly, two in three people aged over fifty intend to remain in their current home as they age, yet only one in three (38%) have plans in place to prepare for getting older and becoming frailer”.
“Wellbeing for our Seniors has become a big business – often with profit overriding care. Hospitals, Health Services and Government subsidized programs are being stretched to their limits with high demand, reduced funding and minimal staff and resources. And who suffers? Our frail aged, especially those without family support or financial means.