Reform all aspects of how we treat our ageing population. More real, boots-on-the-ground funding for in home care. In home respite options. More support for carers, and recognition of the huge amount of unpaid work they are doing every single day. Complete overhaul of how income and assets are calculated, the scrapping of the "6 month hardship" rule. Streamlining the process for calculating daily fees and admission to long term placement. Specialised support and advocacy agency within the Department of Human Services, or an independent body, to assist carers to navigate the system. Go to Tara Kostezky's Campaign
Why is this important?
Our care of our ageing population is a National scandal, and a disgrace. There is an appalling shortfall of support services for both participants and carers in the home, lack of real in home respite options, chronic lack of available services in rural areas in particular, poor acknowledgement of the Carers Recognition Act in all dealings with government departments and the health care system...the list goes on and on.
Residential Aged Care is a nightmare to navigate for carers who are already exhausted by the time the need for facility care is needed. Carers will (quite naturally, given what the current Royal Commission is bringing to light, and of which those on the ground are already completely aware) avoid placing loved ones into care until it becomes apparent there is no other option left. And by that point, they are usually completely burnt out and overwhelmed. And then: they are confronted with the financial aspects of residential placement, at the time they are least able to do so.
Government department delays, an almost deliberately dense and complex process, conflicting advice from Centrelink, government run "advocacy" services, and My Aged Care: all of these are things with which carers are all too familiar. And there are many, many older members of our community who have no advocacy at all from family or friends who best know their needs. These poor unfortunates are thrown into the system, to be churned through, stripped of their assets, and forgotten. After all, who would care?
The financing of Aged Care is unjust and uses figures which are unrealistic for the poorest members of our society to meet. Unless the person is "fully concessional", they fall into the murky category of "partial concessional". Figures of $350 *per week* are not unheard of, ABOVE the 85% of the Aged Pension. Hardship can be applied for...but only after 6 months of trying to sell whatever tiny assets that person has (usually the family home). Families are being forced to sell assets well under market value due to the urgency of needing to come up with funds immediately. Reasonable debts, such as unpaid council rates, are NOT included in the calculation of what the asset is worth. The net effect of this on a broader scale is sinple: channelling the assets of the very poorest into the hands of the profit margins of our for profit Aged Care Homes. We already have a "death tax" in this country...except of course - again - this only applies if you are poor. The wealthy can simply pay the RAD and be done with it, and when the end comes, it is returned to them, as the very name suggests: Refundable Accomodation Deposit.
The effect on a larger social level is this: the traditional passing on of wealth to the next generation becomes out of reach of those who most need it.
And what does all this pay for? Ants in the wounds of the dying. Shocking abuse of a daily basis. Burnt out and cynical staff who can no longer actually give a damn, through their own need to survive emotionally, because profit is king and proper compassionate staffing ratios are expensive to maintain. Absolute human misery and suffering.
Why should anyone care about this anyhow?
The demographics of the coming two decades show very, very clearly that we are on the brink of a tsunami of the ageing population. Directly, or indirectly, you WILL be confronted with these issues.
And because none of this is fair, or just, or right, or - most importantly - compassionate to the slightest degree.
And if you can't find it in yourself to care for those reasons, here are two more: the economic aspects of this will have long lasting implications for our economy, and none of them are good with the system we now have in place. And the second reason? You will be old one day too. What sort of care do you think will be awaiting you when you no longer have any other options left? Go to sign at the Community Campaign