The Column

Contributor profile: Aged Care Columnist

Our Columnist has been an advocate for better aged care for over a decade. They have worked in aged-care homes and supported seven family members and friends through the Australian system of aged care and found many aspects of it wanting. They have co-authored several submissions to Senate Inquiries on matters relating to aged care and written widely on social policy issues concerning ageing and accommodation for marginalized people.

Selling off aged care

Very few of us wish to dwell on how the last years of our life might play out. If we did, we would surely pay more attention to the increasing privatisation of aged-care services. Do we really want our end-of-life experience to be defined by market forces? Should the desire for profit underpin the care of those who can no longer care for themselves?

Who is pulling the strings?

How many of us know who actually owns the aged-care homes where our frail, older friends and relatives live?

Often there is a web of complex structures behind the day-to-day management of the facility. It is hard to know just who is responsible.

Would you like a latte with that?

Tuning in to local ABC radio the other night I heard some aged-care guru telling the world how ageing baby boomers would expect chai soy lattes along with their residential aged care. Sure! Along with their blackberries, lap tops and iPhones! At times, you wonder whether some of these experts on aged care have set foot in the door of an aged-care home lately.

Forget the latte and worry about whether you can get someone to help you get to the toilet in time.

Carers must speak up

Aged care is one of the few areas where consumer action has been slow in coming. Research has shown us that hospitals are safer and better when the consumer voice is heard. That is why they employ patient advocates and support community advisory committees.

Those who have actually experienced a particular health service often have a fresh perspective to offer. They see things through a different glass.

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