The number of people aged 65 and over in Australia is projected to more than double to 8.8million in the next 40 years.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, of the ageing demographic, only 5 per cent of older Australians live in care accommodation as many prefer to remain in their own home.
It is also understood almost 40 per cent of all older Australians need help with at least one activity from mobility, household chores or meal preparation, to name a few.
As part of the budget, Federal treasurer Scott Morrison pledged an extra $1.6billion for the Home Care Packages Program, which funds service and clinical care purchases to help seniors remain at home.
Once the recipients select an approved provider, individuals can activate and manage their package.
They can buy approved services such as domestic support, meal preparation, cleaning, home modifications to meet care needs, transport, personal care (assistance with showering/bathing, getting in and out of bed, getting dressed/undressed), support to go shopping and run errands, allied health, medications management, home nursing, sourcing of hearing, mobility, visual and continence aides, support to attends social outings and events.
Community Interlink is a Shepparton-based consortium of 18 health care providers across north-east Victoria, from Nathalia to Numurkah, Euroa and Benalla, which can provide packages to people who need them.
Community Interlink governance chair Suzanne Miller believes the announcement was a positive move, although the introduction of 14000 new packages as a result of the spend will not cover the more than 100000 people on a waiting list.
‘‘The announcement was great news for seniors as more packages will become available,’’ Ms Miller said.
‘‘When we look at the number of those on the waiting list already, we can see the huge shortfall for those needing support who aren’t yet getting it.
‘‘It means that the frail aged within our communities aren’t always able to access the most ideal health supports as they grow older.’’
Ms Miller was also concerned about elderly community members who might not be aware they were eligible for a package or were unsure of getting one.
‘‘Home Care Packages are all about supporting us to live our fullest lives into our senior years in our own homes.’’
For information or help with the Home Care Package funding subsidy, contact Community Interlink on 1300203203.
SUPPORT FOR RESIDENT AND CARER
About five years ago, Sharon Parsons became a carer for her father Keith.
Mr Parsons has lived at Rodney Park Retirement Park in Mooroopna for 23 years, but now at 91, he needs a little assistance with some everyday tasks.
Ms Parsons works full-time but was also cooking her father’s meals, paying his bills and taking him shopping.
‘‘I would pretty much do anything he needed but with working full-time it put an enormous strain on me,’’ she said.
Although Mr Parsons has no severe medical conditions, he does not drive now, which added pressure to his daughter.
‘‘I could see dad getting into a depression because he wasn’t able to go out and see different things,’’ Ms Parsons said.
Looking for some extra assistance and guidance two years ago, Ms Parson reached out to Shepparton support services organisation, FamilyCare.
‘‘They spoke to me about Home Care Packages because I knew nothing about them and hadn’t heard of them before.’’
Before long, Ms Parsons was contacted by Community Interlink, which now supports her father with subsidised meals seven days a week, outings three days a week and transport to appointments.
‘‘Dad absolutely loves it,’’ she said.
Mr Parsons mostly enjoys his outings and the chance to see his new ‘mate’ and support worker Gavin Miller.
‘‘He loves seeing Gavin and just feels like it’s his mate coming to hang out,’’ Ms Parson said.
The initiative has also been a blessing for Ms Parsons, who is able to access help and support as his carer.
‘‘I lost my brother last year and I am able to access services to make sure I can continue to support my dad as much as possible.’’
Ms Parsons is delighted to have stumbled across the package, for the sake of her and her dad’s wellbeing.
‘‘It has been an absolutely fantastic experiment for both of us mentally.’’