Jan 15, 2021

Should the public invest more in aged care?

In Israel, a world first is occurring. An Israeli social enterprise has taken to crowdfunding a new initiative aimed at helping tackle loneliness and isolation among older people. 

Traditionally, social impact bonds are funded by one or two big financial backers, investing the money to ensure the rollout of the project to make the biggest impact on society. But this latest bond is believed to be the first to get funding from the general public through crowdfunding.

While the bond has already received financial contributions from investors and philanthropic funds of around AU$653,000, they have turned to crowdfunding in the hopes of raising another AU$285,000. 

Social Finance Israel, the organisation behind the social impact bond, says the money will go towards easing the effects of loneliness and isolation of around 200 older people in Tel Aviv over the next two years. 

The program will see social workers and volunteers visit older people, offer group activities, teach them how to use technology to keep in touch with family and friends, and will check in on their mental health using cognitive behavioural tools. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, an Israeli survey found 47% of older respondents were in a poor mental state, experiencing feelings of depression, loneliness and that “in the current situation, life has no meaning”.

It was during this time that the social impact bond was launched to help ease some of these feelings and improve the wellbeing of older Israelis during COVID-19. 

Social Finance Israel’s CEO, Yaron Neudorfor, told Pro Bono Australia that involving the community in crowdfunding has been an essential part of making the social impact bond a reality. 

“I am excited to enable everyone to invest in a social impact bond to reduce elderly loneliness and thus, address not only a difficult problem which has intensified recently but also, get a return on the investment subject to the project’s success,” Neudorfor said.

“Impact investments around the globe are continuing to grow since we are witnessing a new generation of investors that want more than a return; they want their investments to be meaningful according to their values.”

The social impact bond, which is still in the “development” stage, poses the question: should the public and communities have a larger hand in improving the lives of our older community, instead of leaving the task solely to the government, peak bodies or private investors?

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  1. Hi Rianna, what a great article conversation . I believe yes that communities need to be more involved and have a role in supporting older community members. The thing we all must be reminded of is that older people are part still a living part of our communities. The wealth of knowledge, contributions and life experience is a “tool box”. We have so much potential into our future if we take ownership and responsibility with supporting our ageing community. It’s everyone’s responsibility in a community to look out and support each other .

  2. Hi Rianna, I don’t agree with crowdfunding all that will do is make the wealthy owners of these places wealthier, as it stands at the moment they are not accountable to the government for what they do with the funds the government supply for residents, they seem to be a law unto themselves , however I have no problem with a levy like the Medicare levy so long as these places are accountable to the government for what they spend it on, ie. the money they get for high care residents should be spent on the actual care of high care residents as in employing enough staff to look after not only their physical needs but their emotional needs as well, if they have dementia and wander at night they should spend time with them and observe what the problem may be ie snoring waking them up perhaps well when they settle them turn them on their side and so they’re not facing those bright lights which come on when people ( staff or other residents) pass by their rooms, I have personal experience of this because I went in at night to observe my husband because they were giving him benzo’s which if they sent him to sleep only worked for a short time and they made him aggressive which management blamed on his Alzheimer’s , he got to the stage where they had him on antipsychotics , benzo’s and an antidepressant , I had to buy a wheelchair , I did some research and found out how dangerous these drugs are especially in people over 65 , and lets face it they’re for mental illness not brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s , I demanded he be taken off the antipsychotics after reading if they do put them on them it should be no longer than 12 weeks and guess what?
    He could walk again.
    I’m definitely all for some kind of levy though.

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