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How much do we care for older Australians?

Date published: Monday 16 October 2017

Category(ies): Media release

On UN International Day of Older Persons this Sunday 1 October, Baptist Care Australia challenges Australians to have a serious debate about the future sustainability of aged care funding.

“The world takes a moment this Sunday to consider the essential contribution older people have made and continue to make to our families, communities, and nations,” said Marcia Balzer, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

“Here in Australia, it’s an opportunity to start talking about how we will care for the increasing numbers of older Australians who will need support in coming decades.

“The Government’s Intergenerational Report in 2015[1] projected that by 2055, the number of Australians over 65 will more than double to 8.9 million people. There will be 1.9 million people over the age of 85.

“Over the same time period, there will be fewer working people – a decline from 66% to 60% of the population.

“There have been a number of negative reports recently about the quality of residential aged care, and these stories are extremely concerning. There’s no doubt that there’s room for improvement in aged care, as in any care system.

“But we also need to think about how the high-quality aged care we expect can be funded as demand increases in the coming decades. There will clearly need to be greater investment in aged care – by taxpayers, consumers, families, or a combination of them all.

“We all want our older relatives and friends to have a good quality of life as they age. We want them to be cared for well and have their choices and preferences respected.

“There are many high-quality aged care providers who offer this level of care and concern for residents and consumers, but our current funding arrangements may not be adequate in the future.

“Now is the time when we need to start talking in our families and communities about what needs to change so we can fund high quality aged care in the coming decades.

“How can individuals and families plan better for future aged care needs? What will be the role of the family home and other assets in supporting people as they get older? And how can the Government ensure those who can’t pay for their care still receive the support they need?

“We need to have some serious conversations if we’re going to meet the challenge of caring for our future older Australians,” MsBalzer said.

Baptist Care Australia is the peak body for Baptist aged care providers who care for older Australians in residential facilities, in their own homes, and in retirement villages.

ENDS

The Baptist Care Australia network serves people in aged care, affected by family violence and homelessness, on low incomes, experiencing relationship breakdown, and affected by multigenerational disadvantage. Member organisations have an annual turnover of more than $700 million, employ more than 9000 staff and engage more than 2500 volunteers each year. Baptist Care Australia draws on the policy and operational expertise of members to advocate on issues such as social housing and homelessness, inequality and disadvantage, disability services, aged care, children and youth, and domestic and family violence.

Media inquiries: Marcia Balzer, Executive Director, 0430 175 310, Marcia.balzer@baptistcareaustralia.org.au


[1] The Treasury, 2015, 2015 Intergenerational Report Australia in 2055, p. 12.