Com­mis­sion on aged care a good call

Broome Advertiser - - NEWS - Neale Prior

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son’s de­ci­sion at the week­end to call a royal com­mis­sion into aged care is timely be­cause our na­tion will soon be fac­ing waves of baby boomers need­ing help with the many med­i­cal and emo­tional chal­lenges of get­ting old.

Our aged-care sys­tem be­gins with net­works of fam­ily and friends, then goes to vol­un­tary and semi-funded com­mu­nity care, then into more for­malised home care ar­range­ments and reaches its end with nurs­ing homes.

At each level of this age­ing and care cy­cle there is the po­ten­tial for abuse and ne­glect, in­clud­ing by Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties who right now are de­lay­ing fund­ing of for­malised Home Care Pack­ages by up to 12 months.

Just like with the fi­nan­cial ser­vices royal com­mis­sion, we are go­ing to hear an ar­ray of hor­ror sto­ries about abuse and ne­glect.

We will doubt­less see more rev­e­la­tions of how bu­reau­cra­cies be­holden to so-called stake­hold­ers get so bogged in pro­cesses and hum­bug that they are slow to act on re­ports of ap­palling con­duct.

But amid the noise and the dis­taste, it is es­sen­tial that we try to grasp just what pro­grams, fund­ing, su­per­vi­sion and en­force­ment Aus­tralia will need as we baby boomers head to­wards our 70s and be­yond.

Many of us will need help stay­ing in our homes as long as pos­si­ble so tax­pay­ers don’t have to spend tens of bil­lions of dol­lars on costly res­i­den­tial aged care.

Peo­ple of lim­ited means will need help mak­ing their homes as safe as pos­si­ble.

We will need ed­u­ca­tion and fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able ways to en­sure that we get the care we need at the right time. Gov­ern­ments will need to fund ad­vo­cacy ser­vices such as Ad­vo­care.

We must en­sure peo­ple are not pre­ma­turely forced into res­i­den­tial care and that care is right for their in­di­vid­ual needs.

The State par­lia­men­tary re­port and the new royal com­mis­sion are all part of at­tempts to deal with the same chal­lenges.

We should be grate­ful that our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers are tak­ing these is­sues se­ri­ously.

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