UnitingCare Australia believes that every older Australian should be able to live well, as part of their community, with dignity and independence, and in a place of their choosing.
In the new environment of consumer-led and demand-driven agedcare, older Australians should have access to the appropriate and affordable support and care services that they need, when they need them.
The issues we face
UnitingCare Australia supports the reform of the agedcare system and the move to consumer-driven care.
However, UnitingCare Australia believes older Australians will need assistance in making the transition to the new models of care and that the most vulnerable and those with high care needs will need additional support to ensure they are able to make informed choices.
UnitingCare also believes the agedcare system needs to be adequately funded to be sustainable into the future, and that funding cuts threaten the viability of providers and the quality of care provided to older Australians.
In spite of the ambitious reforms, high quality agedcare remains out of the reach of many older people.
Almost 15,000 older Australians experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness and one in twelve older Australians experience significant financial or social disadvantage.
Other older Australians do not have access to quality, flexible, accessible care in the location of their choosing.
People with high care needs, people living in rural and remote areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, can face even greater difficulties accessing appropriate services and supports.
Couples can also face significant challenges in accessing care that meets all their needs and respects their status.
Services are under increasing pressure to meet the demand for specialised care for people with dementia and other complex care needs and carers often struggle to meet the needs of their partner or relative at home. The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to rise to more than 400,000 within five years.
Older people needing care can still face lengthy delays. In 2013-14, only 69 per cent of those needing care entered residential high care within three months of assessment and only 62 per cent entered residential low care within that time.
Only 59 per cent of people commencing Home Care received services within three months of approval.
The aged sector faces a number of workforce challenges including difficulties recruiting qualified staff to residential aged care and the need to develop and maintain a flexible workforce to deliver consumer-driven care.
UnitingCare Australia's Aged Care Network
UnitingCare's Aged Care Network is an advisory network that assists in identifying issues requiring national action. Members of this body are drawn from across the UnitingCare network.
The role of the Aged Care Network is to develop, review and reflect upon the policies and practices of the Uniting Church in its community services ministry with people; and contribute to the advocacy of UnitingCare Australia.