Healthy Ageing a Focus of Australians on World Health Day
World Health Day gives us cause for reflection on positive ageing for Australians with its theme of healthy ageing at a time when the world’s population is ageing rapidly.
View by date:Previous Ministers
PDF printable version of Healthy Ageing a Focus of Australians on World Health Day (PDF 221 KB)
7 April 2012
Today’s World Health Day gives us cause for reflection on positive ageing for Australians with its theme of healthy ageing at a time when the world’s population is ageing rapidly.
The World Health Organisation’s World Health Day 2012 involves a call for action for governments to ensure people reach old age in the best possible health. In the next few years, for the first time, there will be more people in the world aged over 60 years than children aged under five.
Australians are living longer than ever before – up to 25 years longer compared to a century ago – and it’s important that they can expect to have access to the care and support they both need and deserve so they can remain living in their own home.
Australians have told of an aged care industry in crisis, of their fears of not being able to get the care they want for themselves or their loved ones and of being forced to sell the family home to get care in an emergency.
The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, today released the Council on the Ageing’s Summary Report on the Conversations on Ageing which will help to inform the Gillard Government’s response to the Productivity Commission report, Caring for Older Australians.
The conversations are an “at the coalface” look at what Australians fear the most about ageing and what they expect from a reformed aged care system.
COTA gleaned the information from 31 conversations held around the nation with more than 3,400 people taking part.
“The conversations point to an industry in crisis. The overwhelming message is that older Australians are not getting the quality of care and support that they deserve from the current system,” Mr Butler said.
“For many older Australians, the price they pay to enter care is based on how much money they have in their pockets, rather than a reflection of the true cost of care and value for money.
“Accommodation bonds paid to get into residential care cost an average of $264,000 but can be more than $1 million and are usually raised through a forced firesale of the family home at a time of crisis.
“As I have travelled around the country attending these conversations, older Australians have been telling me that they are prepared to contribute more to the cost of their care, but only if they get a better deal with more transparency, a higher level of quality and choice, as well as access to more services in the home.”
The COTA conversations reveal that older Australians who enter residential care expect to be looked after by a skilled and dedicated workforce who are able to spend quality time with them rather than being rushed off their feet.
Mr Butler said that a telling revelation from the conversations is that the overwhelming preference of older Australians is to age at home, with the thought of residential care as a last resort.
“Demand for community care packages is far exceeding what is available,” Mr Butler said.
The COTA summary also reveals older Australians’ very real concerns at their ability to exercise control over the manner of their own death with sufficient access to palliative care as they are dying, be it at home or in hospital.
The conversations also reinforced the view among many Australians that access to aged care services needs to be simpler and easier and with a greater choice of services.
A copy of the report is available at the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website.
For all media enquiries, please contact the Minister’s office on (02) 6277 7280
When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:
- Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
- Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
- Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file
Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking)
may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is
opening and/or lead to system problems.
To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.