The current model for provision of services for people as they get older is no longer relevant or appropriate and does not meet the needs or expectations of older people or their families now, and will not in the future. Consider these facts:
• 50% of women and 40% of men aged 65 years in 2008 will be placed in an aged care residential facility before they die;
• There will be a fourfold increase in demand for aged care services over the next generation;
• The majority of residential care facilities operated at a loss in 2007;
• 60% of people aged 70 and older have expressed a clear preference to remain in their own homes supported by a range of services
• Many facilities cannot operate at full capacity due to staffing shortages, despite strong demand;
• Staff shortages are compounded by frustration with regulation and compliance burdens diverting staff time from delivering quality care and promoting quality of life for residents to administrative tasks.
UnitingCare Australia is of the view that the current service model will be completely unable to meet future demand from older people and their families for support, housing or care. UnitingCare service providers, along with many others within the sector, are facing enormous risks to sustainability over the coming two years.