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Ageing isn’t just about fine lines and wrinkles

19th April 2018

Fifteen million people worldwide have downloaded Oldify – Age your face®, an app that allows you to “make yourself old[1]” and instantly age your face by 20, 30, 40 or more years. Other apps like AgingBooth® and Age Face® also encourage people to “face their future”[2]. When it comes to ageing, it appears many of us wonder what we’ll look like without considering the full story.

Ageing isn’t just about appearances. In fact, looks may appear less important in view of weightier topics such as healthy ageing and a potential need for aged care. In his recent speech to the National Press Club, Minister Wyatt said, “An important part of ageing is aged care…which must now accelerate and transform…while keeping safety, quality and…consumer choice at its core”[3].

Aged care is expected to take centre-stage in this year’s Federal Budget, and it’s not a moment too soon. Recent media reports, while not always accurate, have called the quality of Australia’s aged care system into question. In addition, providers grow tired of operating on shoe-string budgets and need Parliament to consider how the increasing demand for services will be financed. Finally, Government has called on industry to take the lead on workforce planning and introduce more consumer-centric models of care.

For our part, and for the sake of aged care consumers, Benetas hopes the Budget will:

1. Introduce sustainable financing arrangements for aged care

Right now, over 100,000 older Australians are waiting to access a home care package at their assessed level of need[1]. A substantial boost in package numbers is needed to help more Australians remain at home as they age. Recent changes to residential aged care funding have put pressure on the cost of delivering services and provider sustainability. One in three providers made a loss in 2015-16[2] and this is predicted to increase.

Put bluntly, the current system is unsustainable. Parliament must consider how the increased demand for aged care services will be financed.

2. Address compounding issues in the Home Care Package program

Significant issues have arisen following introduction of the Increasing Choice in Home Care (ICHC) reforms that need to be addressed urgently. These include a substantial amount of unspent home care package funds, with approximately 40 percent of activated packages having unspent funds greater than $4,500[6], and more support for consumers to help them activate a package post-assignment.

3. Address quality of care concerns

Sadly, perceived failures in quality of care are headline news. The Commonwealth announced a suite of measures in response to these concerns earlier this week, which will need to be funded in this year’s Budget. Benetas will support measures to restore public confidence in the sector and work with Government to ensure implementation plans are clear.

We all want to minimise fine lines and wrinkles but for Benetas, ageing isn’t about keeping up appearances. It’s about delivering high-quality, consumer-centric aged care services to meet the needs and expectations of older Australians. It’s about supporting individuals, families and carers to make the right decisions for them along their aged care journey. And finally, it means working with Government and other influential partners to ensure Australia’s world class aged care system remains sustainable into the future.

So, the next time you reach for that jar of Olay Regenerist® remember there’s more to ageing than meets the eye. In fact, you might even go further than that and ask your local Member of Parliament about some of the issues raised in this article.

(Please note: Benetas has no commercial links with Procter & Gamble and does not endorse its products).

[1] www.oldify.net

[2] www.piviandco.com/apps/agingbo...

[3] The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, National Press Club Address, 25 October 2017. Available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2017-wyatt20171025.htm

[4] Department of Health, Home Care Package Data Report, 1 July – 30 September 2017.

[5] Aged Care Financing Authority, Fifth Report on Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector, July 2017, p.90.

[6] Stewart and Brown, Aged Care Financial Performance Survey, Home Care Report, September 2017