Complexity and confusions; better planning for ageing

November 1, 2019 7:05 am

If there is one thing in life that binds us all, it is this: ageing. It is a true common denominator. And we all hope to age well, with dignity, respect, comfort and choice.

Thanks to advancements in medicine, nutrition and exercise, science and technology, we are now living much longer than ever before, and with a much higher quality of life. With longevity comes more complex and expensive health needs, so we must continually redefine what it means to be “old”, and plan for how best to negotiate and respond to our own ageing.

Despite the many advances in the level and quality of aged care, we fully acknowledge that not everyone needing care in Australia is getting the care that they need and deserve.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care has revealed not only instances of neglect and mistreatment, and depression amongst some of our most vulnerable older people, but that the quality of care hasn’t always been of the highest standard possible, and that the system itself is very complex, and often confusing for those needing care and those trying to help them obtain it.

There are many factors influencing the delivery of high-quality aged care in this country. Government policy still at times seems to be lagging behind the actual needs of older Australians as we continue to age more rapidly than renew as a population. As it endeavours to provide a framework that keeps pace with the ever-changing face of ageing, cost modelling and structures don’t always match the actual needs within the community, which can make it difficult to both obtain and provide the care that is needed.

Even as individuals, we are sometimes reluctant to acknowledge and embrace the fact that we are ageing, and that we need to be proactively engaged in the planning of our own aged care. The stark reality is, however, that we are going to have to get over our prejudices about ageing, if we are going to help those older people in our lives and our communities, and indeed, prepare well for the inevitability of our own “old age”.

As a Provider operating within this matrix, McLean Care® will continue to acknowledge any shortcomings, which we will harness as opportunities to develop positive, innovative, efficient and sustainable solutions that deliver the highest standard of care within the available funding framework; but Providers are only one of the influencers in this complex system. Governments also have an obligation to provide more, better, and simpler information to assist older Australians and their families plan earlier, and make more informed and better choices.

Older Australians and their families must be proactively involved in the planning process, and need to all contribute and work together towards making aged care in this country better; the best that it can be. We must start planning earlier, and know that supportive environments and integrated care systems can help ensure that older people whose capacity has diminished live with dignity.

All Australians deserve to age well and with dignity, whether they choose to be at home or in residential care. The comfort, safety and wellbeing of every person we care for and support is our number one priority, and we will continue to work closely with our older people and their families, and with Government and our people, in the pursuit of aged care excellence.