The conversations of life

No one wants to be in aged care – but more of us will need it


This story about how nearly one in five people will end up in aged care facilities against their wishes grabbed my attention this week.

Its argument was based on a study of 1,000 older Melbourne residents that found 75 per cent wanted to stay at home with help while just five per cent wanted to move to an aged care facility. After 16 years, 17 per cent had gone into aged care.

Why would this be the case?

Living longer taking a toll

According to the research, reduced independence was the main reason people went into care.

The reality is that we are all living longer thanks to medical advances – but this also means more time living with chronic conditions which can have a major impact on our health.

For some elderly people, unexpected illnesses or falls can make staying at home no longer possible.

It’s also worth remembering that about 50 per cent of aged care residents have some form of dementia.

While many people with dementia can keep living at home with support – my mother-in-law did just that did for many years after being diagnosed – aged care facilities are often the only option when the disease progresses.

More home care packages on the way

The study also left 83 per cent still living at home – so many of us do get our wish.

The Government wants people to stay in their homes too. They have just announced another 6,000 home care packages to add to the 140,000 packages expected to be available by 2020-21.

These packages offer help with personal activities such as dressing, showering or eating as well as home maintenance, shopping and going to social activities.

I know from speaking to many of my friends, that their parents are reluctant to accept help from outside the family. But if you do want to stay at home, it could make all the difference.

Jill Donaldson

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.

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