Last Saturday I visited the Brindabella Gardens aged care home fete in Curtin and spent way too much at the International Stall on textiles and pashminas from distant lands. And as I unpacked my purchases when I got home, I wondered at the journeys behind these beautiful pieces from India and South America and Indonesia.
The Canberrans I’ve met in aged care are well travelled, well educated, articulate and great fun. They delight in sharing stories about their interesting and exciting careers and adventures, and I enjoy listening to them. And I’m always telling them to get their histories down on paper or recorded for future generations to enjoy too.
Canberra is fortunate to have so many quality aged care providers and services, but we all recognise the system needs to change to meet changing demand.
In a generation’s time, the number of Australians over 65 is expected to rise from about three million to over eight million. That means more people in aged care, and more people with diverse and transitional requirements.
When it comes to aged care, most Australians prefer to stay in their family home as long as possible. We all want to age with dignity at home.
But when that is not possible, we want to be assured aged care offers certainty, stability and choice.
The Government has been working on a series of reforms to aged care, which will benefit older Canberrans, providers and committed staff. The reforms will increase and improve the supply of aged care services so the sector can better address changes in demand.
The reforms have been informed by extensive consultation throughout Australia, and I enjoyed hosting a well-attended aged care forum with the Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler in Canberra, where the questions and comments were insightful and intelligent – as always.
In a growing and ageing Canberra and Capital Region, the reforms will help ensure that as we live longer, we also live better.