More choices: Govt declares plan for dependent seniors
THE Australian Government believes it has "a plan" to support older residents after new data revealed seniors are becoming increasingly dependent on financial assistance from the Commonwealth.
Statistics show that nearly 80,000 older Australians were supported by home care packages in December last year - a jump of 13.5 per cent from 2016.
Meanwhile, three-quarters of people listed for home care were receiving support from the Government, either through home care packages or the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the outlay showed the Turnbull Government was committed to giving seniors more options without the burden of financial stress.
"The Turnbull Government is supporting older Australians by boosting their financial security, helping those who want to work longer and giving them more choice in their care," Minister Wyatt said.
"More older Australians than ever before are being supported to stay in their own home for longer.
"As our population ages, we are seeing demand for support increasing every year. That is why in this year's Budget we committed to a record $5 billion aged care boost, including $1.6 billion for additional high-level home care packages.
"The Turnbull Government has a plan for a stronger economy that will guarantee the essential services and provide increased support each and every year for our older Australians."
The minister said the Government had heeded the warnings of failures from past policies.
"Under Labor, older Australians were subjected to unbearable delays in assessment and service delivery for home care support," Minister Wyatt said.
"This was made worse by a system that failed to appropriately list and prioritise those in greatest need. As a result of these failed policies, many thousands of deserving older Australians were denied the essential care they so desperately needed.
"Now Labor lies about the number of older Australians waiting to receive support from the Commonwealth.
"Thanks to our investment, the total number of home care packages will rise from approximately 87,500 now to 151,000 by 2022.
"This will include 34,000 more high-level packages. The first phase of this rollout began in July 2018."
The Commonwealth Home Support Program - which receives around $2.7 billion a year funding from the Turnbull Government and assists more than 800,000 people - provides a range of support including domestic assistance and home maintenance, transport, meals, nursing services and respite care.
Home Care Packages will receive $2.5 billion in 2018-19, with services including personal care, mobility, domestic assistance, nursing, nutrition and transport.