New research by National Seniors confirms that most people don’t start thinking about aged care until their need or the need of a relative or friend becomes critical.
The research also revealed that 70 per cent had never looked at the My Aged Care website and 85 per cent had never phoned My Aged Care.
Eighty per cent didn’t understand how the contributions of aged care recipients were assessed.
Sixty per cent had never heard of the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, and 65 per cent felt that there are no options to complain.
It is easy to blame older Australians for not thinking about something associated with ageing and deteriorating health and mobility, but the Australian Government has an obvious responsibility here.
It must actively promote the aged care system and educate people about it long before they need it.
It is never easy to interest people in something that is far off and unpleasant, but it needs to happen for aged care.
The Government has put out a tender for what it calls an Aged Care System Navigator. This project consists of a number of trials to test different system navigator models to assist people in understanding and engaging with the aged care system.
The trials include information hubs to provide locally targeted information. They include community hubs where people support each other.
The trials will also employ specialists in so-called ‘consumer-focused’ organisations to offer one-on-one support for vulnerable people.
It’s a positive move by the Government, but one that doesn’t appear to solve the problem of getting people interested in aged care in the first place and getting them to accept that they need to factor aged care into their planning for later life.