When the royal commissioners handed down their final recommendations earlier this year, they proposed that older Australians be included in the design of the future aged care system.
Priority should be “given to research and innovation that involves co-design with older people, their families and the aged care workforce,” they wrote in their final submission.
In its response to the royal commission’s final report, the government accepted this recommendation.
One survey respondent said, “I like that idea. We should have a say in the designing and treatment of aged care.”
Another commented, “I know that there would be many areas that I could provide good advice based on my experience.”
Cycle of ageism embedded
National Seniors is concerned that if older Australians are not involved in creating the new system, a “cycle of ageism” could continue, embedded into Australia’s aged care framework.
“Embedding co-design in a genuine and ongoing way, in various forms and in various settings, directly challenges ageist norms and assumptions, and mitigates against the most pernicious impacts of ageism: disempowerment, lack of control and autonomy, loss of rights.”
Seniors who took part in the survey were wary of “tokenistic” gestures of engagement, such as consultations that ask for contributions but never act on them.
“We must listen”
National Seniors CEO and Director of Research, Professor John McCallum, said, “The royal commission presented us with a once in a generation opportunity to get this right.
“We have no choice.
“We must listen to the voices of the people who will be most impacted by the new Aged Care Act.”
The survey found that:
It’s ageism, pure and simple
“Of course older people can and must be co-designers of the aged care system,” said Marlene Krasovitsky, director of EveryAGE Counts, which co-produced the research.