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Hats off to carers

Survey shows community recognises and values quality care provided to seniors.

New research has found the overwhelming majority of people value those who work with older people.

Two out of three people have personally experienced or know someone who has an experience of services provided to older people, either personally or through family and friends, at some stage in their lives. For most (81%), this is a positive, enjoyable experience.

The recently released result of the June 2010 McGregor Tan Household Omnibus Survey, commissioned by Resthaven, also found nearly 40 per cent of people believe quality aged care means caring for and looking after the needs of older people.

“Older people have shaped this nation. They have much to offer society, and are integral to the fabric of family life through their relationships with each other, their family and their communities, even when they are most frail,” Resthaven CEO Richard Hearn said.

Providers face a great challenge to provide sustainable, quality support for all older Australians, with greater individual choice. The pressure of wage parity with other sectors is straining the aged care industry now, and with the growth in the ageing of the population, this is a major concern for the future, he said.

“Although 98 per cent of survey respondents believe it is important to have an adequate workforce, the current environment makes this challenging. Attracting the required workforce to cope with the demand is a fundamental issue.

“And although 88 per cent think government funding should be indexed to keep pace with wage increases, this is not the reality. Recently, the industry received only a 1.7 per cent CPI increase. This is just not sustainable,” Hearn said.

Having access to services is what people want. More than 60 per cent believe it is not acceptable to wait more than one month for aged care support. However, the reality is that most people wait considerably longer, he said.

This year, Resthaven celebrates 75 years of providing care and support for older South Australians.

“We work with a great purpose in mind – to make a real and tangible difference in the lives of older people. Celebrating and affirming that older people are valued and respected is very important, as is affirming the good and essential work of staff, volunteers, carers and family members.

“Currently, any debate about aged care tends to focus on ageing as a ‘problem’. We have a fundamentally different view. We value older people – no matter how physically or mentally frail they may be,” Hearn said.

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