Yesterday I went to a talk about the ‘new’ legislation applying to aged care provision. Much of it made sense but I couldn’t help feeling that if older people had been involved (I assume they weren’t) it would have been better. Fortunately the Department responsible now seem to have realised that if they don’t involve care providers working in this field they will be subject to a negative reaction later. The next step is to also involve the consumers, older people. I’m not holding my breath.
There seems to be a feeling in the public service that unless you change the name of something (which often also includes an expensive replacement of stationary) it doesn’t look as if you have done anything.
We are all familiar with the idea of a bond, particularly where accommodation is involved, but changing its name to a group of letters (in this case I think to RADS) takes away its meaning and purpose. It is parallel to changing the old expression ‘living wills’, which was easy to understand, to something like ‘advanced care planning’ which is a term the medics can easily take on board but not the consumers, older people.
What did surprise me was that, particularly with increased home care provision, the average length of stay in aged care has dropped from 18 months to 6 months. I hope that this is correct. Many of us worry about having to move from the family home to an aged care facility, with all our possessions possibly squashed in one room. This is less of a problem for the shorter period. We’d much prefer to stay at home for as long as we can. This shorter period of dependency makes aged care provision much easier to anticipate.
If we look objectively at ageing and the fact that retirement can be for over 20 years, we realise that for the most part of it we will be well and able to care for ourselves. The other week I came across the expression ‘transition to ageing’ which stresses the fact that it is only in the very last part that many of us will be subject to the frailty which previously affected the whole ageing period. All the period of retirement up to them involves little change apart from being a bit slower and being careful not to move too quickly for fear of falling.
All this makes ageing much less forbidding, particularly if the end bit, when we really will need serious help, is being made simpler and shorter.