The Government has announced it will increase funding for short-term ‘restorative care’ packages that are designed to keep seniors living independently in their own homes for longer.
The Government will spend an extra $58 million to fund 775 more restorative care packages, meaning the number of senior Australians receiving restorative care each year will almost triple from 3,088 to 8,125.
“This is a life-changing program, giving senior Australians more choices for longer, better and happier lives,” said Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM.
“Older people have things that happen to them which can rob them of their confidence and this program is a proven way of getting them back on their feet,” he said.
“Short-term restorative care boosts health, gets people up and about and improves their wellbeing and outlook on life.”
According to the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s 2017-18 annual report, short-term restorative care is an early intervention programme that aims to reverse and/or slow ‘functional decline’ in older people and improve wellbeing.
The programme provides a range of care and services for up to eight weeks to help prevent or reduce difficulties older people may be having completing everyday tasks.
Short-term restorative care services may be delivered in a home care setting, a residential care setting, or a combination of both.
The restorative care expansion comes on top of a $100 million increase in funding for the Commonwealth Home Support Program and a $15 million increase in the home modification scheme, both programs aimed at supporting independent seniors.
In total, 350 of the new short-term restorative care places will be allocated by July 2019, with another 425 places to be allocated in 2019-20.
Ian Yate, Chief Executive of Council for The Ageing, told Channel Nine, “This short term care means that if something starts to go a bit wrong, maybe your legs aren’t working as well as you’d like, instead of saying ok, it’s time to go off to the nursing home, or indeed, we’re going to put you put you on a whole lot of services even in your own home, there’s a short-term burst for about eight weeks of concentrated support to you.
“It might by physiotherapy, or an occupational therapist working with you. It can be help for you physically, but it can also be help, for example, with support for putting in some ramps or rails in your home with the aim being to keep you functioning, working, operating out of your home for longer.”
In a statement, Mr Yates said, “Too many people are unnecessarily and prematurely admitted into residential care or even assigned high level home care packages, making them dependent on long term care, when the right supports delivered promptly and tailored to each person’s needs can restore their capacities with much lower levels of ongoing support.”
Leading Age Services Australia Chief Executive Officer, Sean Rooney, welcomed the announcement.
He said the program can help older Australians maintain their independence for longer by providing tailored care plans for re-ablement.
“Any move that supports older Australians to receive the care that best meets their specific needs is welcome,” Mr Rooney said.
“These programs will support older Australians who choose to live at home to maintain the activities that provide meaning to their lives.”
If you want to find out more about restorative care, or to find out if you are qualified to receive it, visit the My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422 to arrange an assessment.
“People don’t realise there’s are many alternative in aged care these day,” said Mr Yates.
“I’d like to see many many thousands more of these types of packages and for the whole community to think, we ought to be helping people to stay involved and active in their community and not just say we’re going to send them off to residential care.”