Older Australians want to participate in designing a new aged care system, according to a survey by National Seniors Australia.
In the survey more than 4,500 older Australians gave their views on what “co-design” of aged care reform means to them. The results show that many seniors want to meaningfully impact aged care reform but feel there are minimal opportunities to do so.
“Seniors are wary of tokenistic gestures of engagement.”National Seniors Australia survey
The survey found thousands of seniors are wary of “tokenistic gestures” that invited seniors’ input without acting on it.
National Seniors Australia CEO and Director of Research, Professor John McCallum, said actually listening to older Australians was vital for worthwhile reform.
“The Royal Commission presented us with a once in a generation opportunity to get this right,” Professor McCallum said.
“We have no choice, we must listen to the voices of the people who will be most impacted by the new Aged Care Act.”
“We cannot be complacent and just leave it in the hands of government.”
Council of Elders is one step toward eliminating ageist reform
In its final report the Aged Care Royal Commission recommended research into co-designing the aged care system with older people and the community.
The Australian Government partially accepted this recommendation in its official response to the final report. It also agreed to establish a Council of Elders as “a voice to Government from senior Australians”.
The Council of Elders would include up to ten older Australians from diverse backgrounds, who consult and advise government on aged care and the rights of senior Australians.
National Seniors wants the survey to inform the Council.
Director of EveryAGE Counts campaign Marlene Krasovitsky said ageism was behind Australia’s flawed aged care system.
“OLDER PEOPLE BRING PERSPECTIVE, INSIGHT AND VALUABLE EXPERTISE.”
“Of course, older people can and must be co-designers of the aged care system. The reason they have been largely excluded to date can be put down to ageism, pure and simple,” Ms Krasovitsky said.
“Older people bring perspective, insight and in many cases valuable expertise to the design process. They must be around the table.”
National Seniors Australia is among several consumer groups advocating for reforms to the aged care sector following the two-year Royal Commission.
The Federal budget allocated $17.7 billion over the next 5 years to improve aged care for older Australians.