Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader
On the eve of the aged-care royal commission, the Federal Government announced funding boosts for home-care packages, and for vital building modifications to help seniors stay living independently at home.
An additional 5000 level-three and 5000 level-four home-care packages will be allocated by mid-year, providing funding for up to $50,000 of care services per person per year including nursing, home assistance, nutrition, and meal preparation and transport support.
An extra 20,000 home-care packages have been added in the past year, representing a 40 per cent increase.
However, it is not enough to dint a waiting list of almost 127,000 seniors who’ve applied for packages.
Centacare senior director of community services David Oliver said the rollout of additional high-level home packages would be welcome relief to old Australians waiting in the national queue.
'This is a good step but there’s still a lot more to do to make sure that older people can adequately access the support they need to maintain their independence,” Mr Oliver said.
Centacare is a government-approved home-care package provider with more than 30 years’ aged-care experience.
'Living independently and in their own community is important to many people as they grow older and it’s critical they have quality care options available to them,” Mr Oliver said.
Level-three home-care packages are targeted towards those with intermediate care needs and provides individuals with up to $33,000 per year.
Level four is suitable for seniors with high-level care needs, for example those who may require daily visits from a care worker or a nurse, with the government paying up to $50,250 each year.
In addition to the home-care packages boost, an extra $15 million is to go to Commonwealth Home Support Program providers to complete thousands of home modi cations across the country, which the Government said would mean “greater certainty and more options” for older Aussies.
Vital modi cations which allowed people to remain in their own homes safely included the installation of access ramps around the house, grab rails in the shower and hand rails next to steps.
'This $15 million is a significant increase to help meet the growing demand for home-based services,” Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said.
'We know senior Australians want as many choices as possible to keep them at home in a secure environment that supports healthy living, especially if they are recovering from surgery or injury.
'This means many more people will be able to live safely at home, secure in the knowledge they can remain in the communities they know and love for as long as possible.'