There looks set to be an overhaul of the way aged care is provided and regulated in Australia, following the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month that his government will be launching a royal commission into the sector.
But a Positive Ageing Advocate has now warned that when it comes to fixing the system and providing the best possible care for senior Aussies, the Morrison government only has one chance to get it right for Baby Boomers as the generation begins to enter their 80s.
Marcus Riley, Chief Executive Officer of BallyCara, spoke exclusively to Starts at 60 about the need for urgency when it comes to revamping the industry and said it’s vital that the LNP get things right from the outset, or risk letting down an entire generation of Australians.
“We only get one opportunity to get it right as this generation move through,” Brisbane-based Riley said.
“And if we don’t get it right we will fail that generation because they will not have had optimal care and services to access and their range of choices and the outcomes will be lower than what we would expect.”
Riley’s advice comes as the number of Australians over the age of 65 is set to sky rocket as Boomers creep into their ninth decade, with recent figures showing that the number of over-65s, which sat at 3.8 million in 2017, will reach 8.8 million by 2057, accounting for 22 per cent of the entire population.
And Riley believes the added pressure placed on the aged care system must be met by a change in funding and regulation in order to ensure that Boomers are not let down or struggling to prosper in later life due to inadequate services or care options available to them, as well as addressing societal issues such as ageism.
He added: “If we are going to talk about aged care, we need to talk about ageing as a society. Part of the discussion is aged care but the casual ageism, the lack of awareness around elder abuse, all these sorts of issues contribute to us having an aged care system that is not as good as we’d like it to be.
“Certainly from a change point of view we need a system to be fostering and enabling [people] to really be thriving in that later stages of life, irrespective of what their circumstances may be.
“Everybody still has passions to be pursued and they also have potential to be realised and our system that we want to have in place for aged care, and ageing more broadly, needs to recognise that and understand it and then enable people to achieve that and to be really engaged with life.”