Older and wiser: preparing for the ‘silver tsunami’

Australia is under-prepared for radical changes to aged care, IHA researchers warn.

A radical change to Commonwealth Government funding for residential aged care services will increasingly empower older Australians receiving Commonwealth assistance to make decisions about how they spend it.

Researchers from the Institute for Health and Ageing at ACU warned that moving away from a historical funding system that allocated funding to aged care providers will catch many unawares.

According to an IHA report ‘Older and Wiser: Putting the Consumer's Voice at the Centre of Residential Aged Care’ (PDF File, 1MB), launched today by Hon. Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care at Parliament House in Canberra, the shift toward Consumer Directed Care (CDC) poses significant challenges for older Australians and the residential aged care sector.

Based on a study which explored the impact of CDC on six aged care facilities in Melbourne, the report highlights what more needs to be done to support this dramatic change to aged care services in Australia.

This includes:

  • greater workforce training,
  • job restructuring,
  • greater empowerment of residential aged care facility workers, and
  • strong leadership by managers of residential aged care facilities.

Speaking ahead of the launch, ACU’s Institute for Health and Ageing Director Professor Marita McCabe said consumer directed care was an opportunity to better meet the needs of older Australians but more planning and preparation was needed.

“Australia needs a residential aged care sector that can better tailor services to meet the individual needs of older people,” Professor McCabe said.

“With an estimated 76,000 new residential aged care facilities required by 2023-24, it’s important change happens now to ensure the aged care sector is prepared for the ‘silver tsunami’.

“However, in order for this important shift to be successful there needs to be more support from government and industry for greater workforce training as well as education for older Australians and their families who are making decisions about residential aged care.”

Read the report (PDF File, 1MB)


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