Support Services allowing seniors to stay in own homes
THE Productivity Commission's report on Housing Decisions of Older Australians, identifies an overwhelming desire by the majority of people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Familiar surroundings and the proximity of friends and family - the "aging in place" phenomenon - is a need that is strongly expressed by more and more senior members of the community. Desirable though this might be, however, ill health, decreased mobility and security concerns might not make this ideal possible.
This situation has brought about a change of focus by policy makers in terms of where resources and funding should be channelled as the traditional, residential aged care model is both expensive and out-of-step with what people really want.
"The vast majority of older Australians are living in private dwellings…There are strong grounds for ensuring that policies do not impede ageing in place…Policy focus is increasingly and appropriately shifting from residential aged care, to supporting older people to live independently in the community. The Australian Government has been increasing the provision of home care services, with about 800,000 older Australians receiving some form of home care, while reducing the number of new residential aged care places. The introduction of "consumer directed care" will give consumers greater choice and flexibility in addressing their home care needs".*
Toowoomba and Darling Downs residents are well-served in regard to home support via programmes such as Toowoomba Home Assist Secure. Part of the YellowBridge QLD group (formerly known as ASSERT Services Incorporated), the programme offers a variety of security-related services to support older residents who wish to remain in their own homes.
General manager of the Home Service's Unit, Maria Sloane, says she has noted an upturn in the numbers of people tapping into YellowBridge's services in recent times.
"There has been a significant increase in the number of people accessing the service as there are more people relying on a pension when compared to several years ago...we now service over 9000 clients in Toowoomba and surrounding areas.
* SOURCE : Productivity Commission 2015, Housing Decisions of Older Australians, Commission Research Paper, Canberra