A new future for aged care in Canberra

Older Canberrans will have more choices about their living arrangements and the transition into aged care after the Gillard Government today announced it would invest $3.7 billion to deliver the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package.

“I know many older people in the Canberra community love their family home and feel distressed about the prospect of one day having to give it up,” said Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann.

“These landmark changes to the aged care system will allow us to increase support and care in the home. So as people get older, they can remain in the family home as long as possible.

“Older Australians and their families will no longer be forced to sell their home in a firesale if they are faced with an aged care crisis.”

The reforms will see the Government increase the number of Home Care packages from 59,876 to almost 100,000. Tailored care packages will also be provided to people receiving home care, with costs capped so that full pensioners pay no more than the basic fee.

Ms Brodtmann said the reforms were all about giving older Australians more choice, easier access and better care.

“When it comes to residential care, the Government will give people more choice about how to pay for care.

“Instead of a bond, which can cost up to millions of dollars, you will be able to pay through a lump sum or a periodic payment, or a combination of both.

“Families will also have time to make a decision about how to pay as a result of a new cooling-off period, making the process much smoother and less stressful.”

In addition, to protect care recipients with higher than average care needs, an indexed annual cap of $5,000 for single people on incomes less than $43,000, and on a sliding scale of up to $10,000 for self funded retirees, will apply to care fees. A lifetime care fee cap of $60,000 will be introduced.

There will also be new funding for dementia care and $1.2 billion allocated over five years to attract, retain and train aged care workers.

“These reforms replace an aged care system designed a quarter of a century ago that is now ill-equipped to meet the needs of retiring baby boomers and their parents who are living longer and healthier lives,” Ms Brodtmann said.

Implementation of the reforms will be overseen by a new Aged Care Reform Implementation Council.

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