Standing up for older Australians
The Uniting Church, through UnitingCare Australia the national body which represents its community services, has joined aged care providers across the country calling for transformation of Australia’s aged care system.
Days before the Royal Commission is due to hand down its final report, a new coalition, the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC), of which UnitingCare Australia is a part, released a report laying bare the challenges facing older Australians who are struggling to get the care they need.
In particular, the report noted that during 2017-18, 16,000 vulnerable Australians died while waiting for a government-subsidised support package in their own home.
In residential aged care, a further 88,000 places will be required over the next 10 years, at a cost of $55 billion.
The coalition includes 1,000 organisations responsible for about 70 per cent of services delivered to 1.3 million Australians.
The UnitingCare Aged Care Network supports approximately 97,000 older people, comprising 8.5% of total residential beds and 10% of Home Care Packages nationally.
UnitingCare National Director Claerwen Little said this is a once in a generation opportunity to truly transform the aged care system.
“The time for change is now. We must act collectively and deliberately to deliver generational transformation towards a rights-based aged care system, to ensure that our loved ones are supported and protected as they grow older.
“Older Australians should be able to life live to their full potential, with dignity and grace. They should have access to services when, and where, they need it – which is exactly what we are calling for in this campaign.”
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer encouraged Uniting Church members to support the campaign.
“As followers of Jesus, we believe each person is made in the image of God and is of infinite value,” said Dr Palmer.
“This campaign aligns with our vision and hope that older people can live their lives with respect and dignity and have access to quality and compassionate care when they need it.”
“This cannot be possible without the fundamental reforms highlighted by UnitingCare Australia and others on the frontline.”
“Now is the time to make those changes so that older Australians receive the care they need and deserve.”
Uniting Church members can support the campaign by going to the website to sign the petition and email their local MP highlighting the issue: https://www.careaboutagedcare.org.au