Urgent call for Central Coast action on Aged Care
FEDERAL Member for Dobell Emma McBride has launched a community campaign urgently calling on the government to act now on aged care, as she hears more and more cases of elderly Coast residents suffering.
She pointed to her recent meeting with 95-year-old Blue Haven resident Enid Snare, who was told she would have to wait 12-24 months for the increased care she needed since her husband moved into residential aged care.
"Enid is now struggling to cope at home - (she) cannot wait that long," Ms McBride said.
"She is one of the 120,000 older Australians waiting for care at home.
"On the Central Coast, the number of locals waiting for home care has grown from 1178 in September 2018 to 1455 at the end of June."
Ms McBride said it was clear from the interim report and anecdotal evidence that older Australians simply could not wait until the final results of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety were handed down a year from now.
There had been dozens of reviews and hundreds of recommendations that should have already been implemented to improve aged care.
Instead, the portfolio had four ministers over six years and $1.2billion was pulled out of aged care when Prime Minister Scott Morrison was treasurer.
Ms McBride's call to action also comes after the recent closure of the 14-bed dementia care unit at The Orchards in Lisarow and the 110-bed, 34-year-old Henry Kendall aged care facility in Wyoming.
Both Coast facilities said they did not have the resources to provide the standard of care required.
Both closures caused distress to vulnerable residents and families alike, with at least one elderly couple separated by The Orchards' dementia unit closing with just over one month's notice.
The couple had purchased a low-care unit in the facility based on the fact higher care was available if they needed it later, which the woman did.
Now she has had to move to another facility and the distance between the couple makes visiting difficult.
"The closure of aged care facilities is a concern as we have an ageing population on the Coast and a shortage of beds, particularly for those with dementia," Ms McBride said.
"Providers need to understand that moving an aged care resident is like kicking them out of their own home - the health, relationship andfinancial consequences can bedevastating."
In the case of dementia patients, stability and consistency in environment were particularly important.
Ms McBride said that government cuts to aged care had left some residential aged care providers, many in regional and remote communities, struggling to stay afloat.
"Without proper funding, more closures are likely," she said.
"This is a crisis in our community and I don't think the government properly recognises it."
Other government cuts to seniors and pensioners just increased the difficulty of their situation.
"Since 2014 this government has cut pension indexation, cut $1 billion from pensioner concessions, axed the $900 seniors supplement, reset deeming rate thresholds, changed the pension assets test and scrapped the energy supplement for new pensioners," Ms McBride said.
"Every one of those cuts has pushed more older people into financial hardship."
You can sign the petition calling for the government to act now to fix Australia's aged care system by visiting Ms McBride's electorate office at 204/1 Bryant Dr, Tuggerah, or signing online at alp.org.au/agedcareactnow.