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Ageing Population Means Better Retirement Services
Posted by Marketing on April 8, 2015

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The main aim of anyone who works in the health sector is to not only extend life but also to improve quality of life, particularly in the senior years.

And while the combination of better health care, advances in medical technology and successful health promotion campaigns has dramatically extended the life expectancy of both male and female Australians, an ageing population brings with it a set of issues that need to be tackled tackled.

Identifying a serious need to improve services and more efficiently fund and regulate the sector, in July last year the Federal Government started implementing comprehensive reform under the banner of a package that has been dubbed Living Longer Living Better.

Aged and Community Services WA chief executive Trevor Lovelle said one of the biggest components of the reform was that people who used services and care were now means-tested and required to help pay for their own care.
“Whether you are on a full pension or you are self-funded, everyone is now required to make some sort of a financial contribution,” he said.

That did not mean people were denied care because they couldn’t afford it but they were required to make a contribution based on what they could afford.

Aside from changes to the way the system is funded, it is well recognised that the quality of services provided by the industry in WA has improved significantly in recent times.

“Across the board, there has been dramatic improvement in the services offered,” Mr Lovelle said. “It is not the same industry it was a few decades ago and now people can expect modern, light and bright facilities which meet strict standards.

“People get to make their own decisions about the way they live and the way they spend any funding allocated to them by the Government.”

Southern Cross Care WA chief executive Errol Turner said while there was always room for improvement, he agreed services and facilities were now dramatically better than they were in the past.

“As an industry we have come a long way, modern residential-care facilities are bright and generally more ‘home-like’ than the nursing home, institutional feel of yesteryear,” he said.

“There is room for improvement, however, and we are continuing to see improvements in design, services and models of care across the sector.”

The ageing population meant there was a bigger pool of people demanding better services, care and facilities and that in itself had pulling power.

Mr Turner said he was excited about what the future would hold. “The aged-care home of the future will be considerably different to the stereotype model we have today,” he said. “In the future the ageing consumer will desire greater choices and will want to be in greater control of their independence, health and wellness goals and lifestyle."

"We predict consumers will demand more than just traditional aged-care services. People will be searching for more ‘community- based’ options that provide for wellness, lifestyle and health-care solutions.”

FAST FACTS

• More than one million Australians receive aged-care services, with more than half a million people receiving support at home.
• There are about 2.7 million carers, many of whom are family members.
• The system employs about 350,000 aged-care staff across approximately 2100 aged care providers.
• Millions of Australians already have a loved one receiving aged-care services or are thinking about their own or someone else’s needs.


First published in The West Australian on 08 April 2015.

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