Solving the aged care mystery

The royal commission on aged care will not only investigate disturbing cases of abuse, it will also examine even more concerning staff to patient ratios, diminishing standards of care and how the system should be funded in future.

While many older Australians have a plan for retirement, quite often that plan does not include provisioning for the third stage of retirement, specifically, how seniors plan for care in their ‘frailer’ years.

Aged care may then be a necessary evil but reports of widespread abuse and mistreatment of patients in aged care facilities certainly put a sour taste in the mouths of those who even ponder the possibility of having to enter the system.

While most older Australians would prefer to age in place, the government funding of home-care packages falls well short of requirements.

The Government claims it rolled out 23,808 home care packages during the June 2018 quarter, which brings the total to 148,672 packages released in 2017-18.

However, in the same period, the queue for home care packages has grown to 121,400. Many older Australians wait months to access the right level of home care and, in frustration, give up and enter an aged care facility instead.

To add insult to injury, the Federal Government’s $8 million advertising campaign promoting extended care options just gives people false hope, as timely access to home care packages is difficult, sometimes impossible.

Little wonder then that many claim the aged care system is not only flawed but broken. And even less surprising is that older Australians put the thought of aged care out of their heads until thinking about it becomes absolutely necessary.

But is that the best way to tackle this tricky situation? Should retirees know more about aged care, and be better informed to plan for the third stage of retirement?

With this in mind, we’d like you to help us solve the aged care mystery. By taking part in our Friday Flash Poll, we’ll hopefully pull the curtains back and reveal the attitudes of older people towards aged care.

Armed with this information, we can make a difference.

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Do you think there is enough information about aged care for you to make informed decisions about the third stage of retirement?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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