More than 100,000 Australians waiting for home care support “unacceptable”

Dementia Australia has today urged the Federal Government to take action to better support 100,000 Australians waiting to receive home care support.

The statistics revealed in the Department of Health’s report into the new arrangements for Home Care packages show overall demand for home care is increasing, with the average number of daily approvals growing by 23.9% since March 2017.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said while Dementia Australia supports the Government’s Consumer Directed Care approach, it also recognises the urgent need for the Government to adequately provide these consumers with the appropriate level of support they need, when they need it.

“As of September this year, more than 100,000 Australians have been on the waiting list to receive home care packages. Some people can wait for more than 12 months to receive support, with less than 70,000 packages approved since the start of the new arrangements,” Ms McCabe said.

“Such a long wait is unacceptable for anyone requiring in-home assistance. Even more so for someone living with dementia.”

Ms McCabe said data suggested the largest shortfall in the packages remained across high care packages, which is the support needed by people living with dementia.

“About 70% of people living with dementia are living in the community and these numbers highlight the escalating need for community based support. “

The Report on the Operations of the Aged Care Act also highlights that while most people accessing aged care services live in the community, the largest share of government funding continues to be in residential aged care.

Ms McCabe said the consequences of lack of support in community care are devastating and far reaching – severely impairing the quality of life for the person living with dementia and impacting the quality of life for their loved ones who often stop or change their own life to become a primary carer.

“Our experience has shown that early intervention supports can be crucial in enabling people to remain in community, and avoiding premature entry into residential aged care,” she said.

“In light of today’s findings, Dementia Australia urges the Federal Government to provide better support for people living with dementia and indeed all seniors in the community, and also consider alternative approaches to help build capacity in supporting vulnerable Australians such as people living with dementia across the country.

“Importantly, this report is not about statistics, it’s about people. And, under the current arrangement far too many Australians are waiting far too long for support. It is very concerning.”

The link to the full Home Care Packages Program Data Report is here

Dementia Australia is the national peak body for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 413,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2056. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia

National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500

Media contact: Anna Townend, anna.townend@dementia.org.au, 0435 532 214