The Productivity Commission has been asked to review the quality of aged care currently on offer to the ageing population of Australia. On average, Australians are living longer, and it is estimated that by 2050, the number of individuals requiring aged care will jump from 1 to 3.5 million.
The Commission has suggested solutions to overcome our aged care weaknesses, including the following:
Aged care choices
More is being done to offer a larger variety of choices when it comes to aged care services. In the past, the elderly had little control over their future care plan. Now they will be able to choose where they receive the care and who provides it. Planning will also be undertaken to ensure that the provision of aged care services in rural and remote areas is improved.
Care at home
The majority of elderly Australians prefer to maintain independence whilst receiving in-home care that caters to their individual needs. This type of care will be encouraged in the hope of alleviating some of the pressure on the aged care system.
New funding options
The cost of aged care is currently under debate. The Commission proposes that the elderly will have access to a government-sponsored line of credit to help them meet these expenses whilst keeping the family home. Individuals will also be means tested to see if they qualify for subsidised care.
Selling the family home to pay
If the individual decides to sell their home, they will be allowed to place the proceeds of the sale into an Aged Pensioners Saving Account. This will not affect their Age Pension entitlements. Ideas are also being drafted that will promote a system where individuals will be able to pay a daily charge for care through a reverse-mortgage type scheme that will allow you to borrow equity against your home.
A shortage of staff in aged care
With the increasing number of elderly in Australia, the need for skilled workers in both aged and palliative care is high. Those needing psycho-geriatric care are also on the rise with the increase of chronic mental diseases like dementia and schizophrenia.
For more information on the proposed new aged care model, click here.
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