Older Australians say aged care is a dirty word

Older Australians would rather rely on themselves than aged care.

Older Australians say aged care is a dirty word

Aged care is a dirty word for many older Australians, with 25 per cent saying they’d rather take their chances at being fully independent than worry about any aged care services.

It’s no secret that the royal commission into aged care will uncover damaging evidence against the sector.

The medical peak body is fully aware that the health and aged care system is woefully under resourced and that aged care providers often don’t meet minimum standards.

“Many aged care providers commonly do not meet the Clinical Care Accreditation Standard, likely due to a shortage of trained, experienced and appropriate staff and a lack of resources,” said Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone.

“There are not enough registered nurses with aged care experience to provide the clinical governance, oversight and leadership required in these facilities, leading to poor clinical care, inadequate communication and a lack of knowledge about individual residents."

The Government plans to pour billions into home care and aged care facilities. However, reports from those waiting endlessly for care packages and damning accounts of mistreatment in nursing homes have left an already struggling industry battered and bruised.

Little wonder then that older Australians are putting the notion of aged care out of their minds until it is absolutely necessary.

Results of the YourLifeChoices Friday Flash Poll: Solving the aged care mystery revealed the attitudes of older Australians towards aged care. While some results were expected, such as preferred methods of aged care, others were quite surprising and some downright shocking.

The bulk of respondents were aged between 60 and 70 (85 per cent) and were 60 per cent women to 40 per cent men.

Almost half of those who responded were receiving the Age Pension, 32 per cent were self-funded retirees and 16 per cent were employed either full or part time.

While the sector’s reputation is surely at an all-time low, 68 per cent still agree that they should be thinking about aged care.

Yet a paltry 13 per cent have a financial plan to fund this stage of retirement.

Of the remaining 87 per cent who don’t have a plan, 50 per cent say they intend to and 37 per cent say that have no intention of financially planning for aged care.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents who receive an Age Pension say they cannot afford aged care, and a large number still plan to remain independent throughout retirement.

Among reasons given for not having an aged care financial plan, 18 per cent said they couldn’t afford it, eight per cent said they would prefer to live in the moment, another eight per cent said they would rather leave their money as an inheritance, 14 per cent said they don’t understand the system, another 14 per cent said they didn’t want to think about it and six per cent said the Government should pay for it.

Most surprising was that 25 per cent said they plan to be fully independent throughout their retirement. This could be because the current state of aged care has many older Australians worried about their later years, people are actually able to be more independent or they are misguided and, perhaps, a little optimistic.

Just one per cent said they don’t care about aged care.

As expected, older Australians would prefer to age in place, with 54 per cent saying they’d prefer home care and 22 per cent saying they aim to be fully independent until they die. Around 16 per cent said they would move into a retirement village with aged care options, but a paltry two per cent said they’d trust an aged care facility enough to live out their final days in one.

The remaining five per cent had no idea which type of aged care they’d prefer.

Seven per cent said they’d rely on family for care, while 58 per cent said they would not and 36 per cent said they may partly need help from loved ones.

Around seven in 10 believe aged care advice should be paid for by the Government.

While the Federal Government’s My Aged Care website does an admirable job of demystifying the services, it would seem many older Australians do not know of its existence. Almost half of all respondents said they had no idea about government-subsidised aged care options.

As far as how many years they could expect in aged care, almost one in five said they would need six years or more, with a further 58 per cent having no idea how long they’d need.

When we asked why aged care is a dirty word, 26 per cent said it was because of negative reports from institutions and 19 per cent said negative media coverage was to blame. A quarter of respondents said it was just too expensive and 23 per cent said either themselves, family or friends had a bad experience.

A big cause for concern emerged from commentators who said they would never choose aged care. While some comments explaining why they would eschew aged care, such as the loss of independence and inability to trust those running the facilities, many Australians actually view the term itself as demeaning. Others went as far as preferring to take their lives rather than enter aged care.

“I intend to commit suicide if I need aged care – it’s demeaning,” said one member.

While another said: “I intend to euthanise myself so will have no need for aged care. Medically assisted euthanasia is not legal and if it were there would be too many restrictions!”

These were but two responses of many sharing similar sentiments.

Many have welcomed the Government’s aged care royal commission, but none more so than the older Australians who’ll need it most in the coming years.

Fortunately, the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, has acknowledged their concerns.

“We know that there are instances of sub-standard care that need a fair, independent and thorough assessment – to honour and support every family that has engaged and trusted aged care services across our nation,” Mr Wyatt said.

He certainly has his work cut out for him.

Do you think you’ll need aged care or are you ignoring the need? Do you share the same sentiments as those quoted?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Oct 2018
    After watching 4 Corners expose on Aged Care Services and having first-hand experience of the "care" of several elderly relatives, plus the government's money grab for any assets remaining for the elderly to pay for sed "services", euthanasia is looking more and more appealing! At least then ther'd be something left to leave to the next generation! Not that this self-serving LNP Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government cares a fig, as long as they retire with their fat pensions, travel allowances and perks! I am totally disgusted with what our country has become!!
    8th Oct 2018
    Agreed, disillusioned. Just so long as its my choice and not the family wanting early access to the inheritance!
    I look out at the 4 storey monster building for the aged than has just gone up near me. The lights are on 24/7. There is no provision for parks or green space. Just a living coffin where the inmates will wait for death.
    Old Geezer
    8th Oct 2018
    I have no intention of playing bingo is God's waiting room waiting for my number to be called.
    8th Oct 2018
    When I moved into a 'Retirement Village' I had cash left over from my house sale. I invested some and lost $35,000.00 in a downturn. The remainder I keep in Term Deposits. My intent is to assist in my care for when I will need it! The penalty was/is Centrelink said I'd been overpaid in my pension and took $680+ from me and reduced my age pension. I live reasonably well without touching my savings, rarely going out, no holidaying, dressing at 'Vinnies' and only gamble on RSLArt Union for a dream.
    What incentive is there to save for old age care?
    8th Oct 2018
    So what exactly did the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government do disillusioned? What is going on now is nothing new and the issue of an ageing population has been known for the past 15 years.
    9th Oct 2018
    Both the LNP and the ALP are neo-liberal sychophants sucking up to their Corporate Masters.

    Those hoping for a Labor helping hand are going to be badly disappointed.

    8th Oct 2018
    I would sooner kill myself than end up in Aged Care. The staff and food are shit.
    8th Oct 2018
    I have told my family and friends not to even think about putting me into aged care. I doubt there will be enough money to fund it anyway. My children live interstate and are making noises about me going to live nearer them. I would sooner chew my arm off. There are good aged care centres around but they cost an arm and a leg. I have a plan for the inevitable.......
    8th Oct 2018
    Granted an Aged Care Package after removal of a brain tumour and then open heart surgery in 2017 I had to decline the offer as I (self funded retiree) could not afford to pay for the services that the health industry professionals stated that I needed. I am now trying to obtain at the very least a Seniors Health Care Card so that I can continue to attend the "required" medical appointments. Centrelink have been extremely slow in moving this forward and some 10 months after the initial application I have today yet again been requested to provide "further information." Aged care for me is certainly not an option and with no family assistance available I see myself as merely a survivor and nothing else as each year rolls around. Another year this week - ho hum such a grand life we live and I'm still breathing.
    8th Oct 2018
    Flanjam, agree with you. Having recently helped my elderly aunt into a nursing home, it sure scared the hell out of me. We don't live in a wealthy or up market area, but the prices to get into a reasonable place were just obscene. Ended up going into a tiny little place, bedroom would only just take her single bed, cost nearly $400 thousand. And meals are charged extra. The Govt says it wants to pour billions more into aged care..well that will only go to one place, in to the pockets of aged care facility owners. They are the ones getting fat on the industry.
    9th Oct 2018
    Self funded retirees are being badly shafted. Punishment for saving so hard I suppose.
    8th Oct 2018
    I am ANOTHER one that will do away with myself rather than enter old age care --

    The "care" is disgusting and there is NO WAY I would put myself through that
    8th Oct 2018
    Surely the alternative to to not needing aged care is not living long enough to qualify!

    There would need to be significant changes to the home care packaging if more people are to stay in their own homes, particularly for those with no family e.g single childless people!
    9th Oct 2018
    Keeping away from Government control and just seeking private service provision seems a good idea. Strange the minute Government and Privatisation using tax dollars starts it all goes pear shaped and people suffer.
    Barbara Mathieson
    8th Oct 2018
    What can you expect when society “ glorifies “ youth?!
    All past Governments should hang their heads in shame.
    Ignored the “ burgeoning “ tsunami of seniors eligible for care/ pensions.
    Will have big ramifications for all in society.
    8th Oct 2018
    I think that the government is just waiting until our generation have all died off, and things will go back to normal. No need then to cater to today's needs, tomorrow it will all go away!
    8th Oct 2018
    Barbara, people will still be getting old-- our generation will be gone but what about the Baby Boomers and then the ones after that
    9th Oct 2018
    Barbara Mathieson....Remember Australia's population is 25 Million due to immigration not through Australian birth growth. I notice a lot of the Asian age pensioners can't speak much English and never worked a day in their lives here. Asians have very long life spans but most of them have good family support. They won't need to be in nursing homes. It's a pity too many Australian children are so selfish and can't look after their parents too.
    8th Oct 2018
    Can we have another Poll ?

    Which would you prefer?
    Voluntary euthanasia or Age Care ?
    The politicians should hang their heads in shame.
    Old Geezer
    8th Oct 2018
    Definitely not aged care.
    8th Oct 2018
    8th Oct 2018
    8th Oct 2018
    Euthanasia .......

    ...but only the way it was depicted in the "Soylent Green" Movie (1973 Charlton Heston)
    People were able to "walk-in" off the street - into super luxurious Clinics .... fill out a couple bits of paperwork.. then "Select" from a Menu ...the way they wished to die!!

    You were taken into a luxury suite and could choose: music -one drink of any form (alcohol incl.) - watch whatever you wanted to on a large flat TV screen ...... then die within a matter of minutes!

    This movie was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ahead of it's time!! Resonated with me big-time even back then and I have never forgotten it!!

    The guy wanted to watch/see spring flowers and baby lambs (as there were none left in the world at that time) whilst his fav. piece of classical music played - he had a glass of red (in which they tipped the "powder") ... and passed peacefully!

    Bring on these type of Clinics - fast!!!!
    8th Oct 2018
    We need to come up with a "quick and painless" way out ....I do NOT want my "end of Life" decisions to be made by anyone but myself.
    8th Oct 2018
    See the comment below..
    8th Oct 2018
    Agree with all the posts.'
    BINGO/CARDS/crap food !
    I`VE JOINED EXIT INTERNATIONAL.......Dr Philip NIEKSE (EUTHANASIA)for ideas should i need it!
    8th Oct 2018
    Excellent collection of responses. Should foreward this onto the Federal Minister for "Hurry Up and Die".

    The terminal option is very attractive. The only problem is the timing and the process. Too soon is a bummer, and too late is, well, too late. The methods are well documented.
    8th Oct 2018
    An excellent & painless way out is to take a few blood pressure pills.
    Old Geezer
    8th Oct 2018
    Nay one will just hibernate for a few hours and wake up taking by too many blood pressure pills.
    8th Oct 2018
    Doctors keep prescribing medications to keep us all alive far too long so it's up to us really when we get to a point to not bother renewing prescriptions or stop taking things and maybe that will bring on the inevitable with hopefully a quick heart attack. Make sure you have a living will so they don't resuscitate you and you have had this conversation with your kids.
    8th Oct 2018
    Old age already has enough side effects, to take away the will to live.

    "G'day George you're lookin well"..."It might look alright but it doesn't feel any good"

    Medical care priorities are changing so people stay mobile as long as possible, but when it gets down to mental disease, the aged are very vulnerable and very difficult to care for. I think this is one of the main problems facing age care providers.

    I was in the hospital Monday evening and one nurse had to look after 6 people. One of those people had come from the nursing home and was not the full quid. She kept the nurse fully tied up providing repetitive services. She also kicked up a ruckus. So if you get admitted to hospital take ear plugs.

    When it gets down to people who are mentally ok, but have uncontrollable pain plus nausea, there is not much that life has to offer. I think most people will hang on while there is something still worth enjoying, but to be in that state of (as sick as a person can be) opting for assisting dying is an easy decision.
    8th Oct 2018
    Forget the idea that any Politician cares one iota about Seniors/Aged Care/Elder Abuse!! For 18 months I have written to Federal Ministers and State Politicians in Victoria, seeking some help for my disabled Cousin and his Wife! "If" I have had a "response" it has been an automated notification of receipt of email! They are too frightened to get help for the psychological abuse by their daughter, her husband and the oldest grandchild! All live in same home! I have implored and begged for a kind compassionate knowledgeable person to visit them to offer some advice, guidance etc. to no avail! My cousin is confined to a wheelchair due to a massive stroke many years ago and his wife also has serious health issues. The Minister for Ageing was the first person with whom I made contact, to no avail! As I live in another State, I can only write and make futile phone calls to seek help for them! Shame on all the bloody politicians, and that includes one Mr Hinch who is renowned for saying "Shame! Shame! Shame!"
    8th Oct 2018
    My 95 yr old mum has just gone into a wonderful nursing home, great staff, great food, great care but I must say if it wasn't for me doing all the chasing and inquiring I don't think the situation would have been the same, I actually commented to them that I pity anyone who doesn't have good family to look after things as it would be a much different situation. No matter what you do the elderly DO NOT want to go into care as they see it as a stepping stone to heaven, they don't realize their needs and so it makes it very difficult for them to settle, my mum says she will commit suicide if she has to stay but then next day forgets all about it. The cost too many is unbelievable and someone is making a HUGE profit from age care and it is not the ordinary family as they are getting ripped off big time. The inquiry to nursing homes is long overdue but all I can say my mum is one of the lucky ones.
    9th Oct 2018
    Aged care provision is yet another failed privatisation with billions of $$$ simply being paid by taxpayers to companies and individuals with apparently very few regulations.

    I have no intention of seeing my assets handed over to some privateer just because I'm old.

    When has privatisation worked?
    20th Jan 2020
    Sadly seniors are seen as a "cash cow" for unscrupulous profit making organisations that have no interest in the care and welfare of the aged. I have informed my family that should I need aged care I would rather euthanise myself. Thousands die waiting for aged care anyway. I read in the Western Australian that 230 are dying a week! Why is such a fuss made about euthanasia when no one really cares for the aged except for their money.
    21st Jan 2020
    An older couple I have been friends with for decades-- they ae 96 years old-- and still have their marbles and like a good conversation-- but are unable to get about very well have just a year ago sold their unit and are in a pretty posh place in Killara --at $1000 EACH a week --
    ($2000 per week) they say the food is good and yes the accommodation is nice -- but what else -- all the others are gar gar and unable to hold a conversation, so they find it pretty boring.
    21st Jan 2020
    I myself have been interviewed for home care 11 months ago -- so far NOTHING happening this government is a bloody disgrace!

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