News and media
Source: Aged Care Insite Oct/Nov 2012
Providers have to know who their consumers are and make use of good marketing tools, including the internet. By Reeni Ekanayake
For people in communication roles, aged care is one of the most interesting and challenging environments in which to work. There is a high degree of political intervention, government regulation, workforce organisation and consistent media attention.
It’s complex and there are many risks; the systems, procedures, policies, layers of bureaucracy and high degree of training required to deliver compliant services demand a high degree of organisational sophistication.
There are also a broad range of stakeholders often with very different objectives. Ultimately it is about people. Making people’s lives better and engaging with communities. Much of the reporting and analysis undertaken is focused on workforce performance, financial viability and organisational structure. But what about expectations, perceptions and communication approaches?
For the aged care system to remain viable into the future, people will need to contribute far more to the cost of their care than in the past. The Living Longer Living Better report says that over the next five years the number of operational Home Care packages will increase by nearly 40,000 to almost 100,000. The principles of consumer directed care will be embedded in these packages, ensuring greater flexibility and choice for recipients. more
Source: Aged Care Insite Oct/Nov 2012
People are working longer and the public’s attitude to the elderly is changing, says the head of the new Panel on Positive Ageing. By Amie Larter
The stigma around aged care and the costs associated will be greatly reduced if seniors become more active in the community and therefore a reduced burden on young taxpayers, says Everald Compton, chairman of the recently formed Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.
The panel members are eminent Australians with strong expertise in issues facing our ageing population. It has been formed to ensure that our growing population of seniors can participate in the community and economy in whatever manner they choose.
The panel will provide advice to the federal government to ensure industry and the various governments can position Australia to benefit from a larger, more active population of seniors.
It is a key element of the federal government’s response to the final report made by the Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians, Realising the economic potential of senior Australians: turning grey into gold.
“The main challenges facing older Australians are ensuring they have access to affordable and appropriate housing and having the skills and opportunity to participate in the workforce for as long as they choose,” said Compton.
“Keeping in touch with technological innovation is also challenging. As such our forward work plan for this year includes work on age-appropriate housing supply, lifelong learning opportunities, mature-age employment, and seniors and the digital revolution.” more
Source: Australian Ageing Agenda October 19 2012
The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), Australia’s largest multidisciplinary professional association of people who work in, or have an interest in ageing, has launched a new series of educational webinars.
The program, which commences on Monday 29 October, has been developed to enable a wide range of people working in and around the ageing sector to participate in thoughtful, high level educational events, regardless of their location.
Australian Ageing Agenda has partnered with AAG to assist in bringing the series to AAA’s readers and subscribers. Aimed at both members and non-members of the organisation, the topics have been chosen to reflect some of the current and emerging ‘hot button’ topics in ageing research and practice, including housing; workforce participation; lifelong learning; active ageing; volunteering and philanthropy; and age discrimination.
AAG President, Professor Julie Byles, who is Director of the Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing at the University of Newcastle and a co-director of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, said the webinar series program was based on the concept of the regular seminars presented by the Association, but with a view to making them more accessible to a wider group of participants.
“As part of its educational role, the AAG frequently holds seminars in different states and they work really, really well, both as a way of conveying information but also encouraging debate, because the format is always interactive. more
Source: Australian Ageing Agenda 18 October 2012
A person with dementia is often left disorientated and disempowered after moving into residential care while their carer typically experiences the most difficult day of their life with feelings of grief, guilt, loss and relief, according to a new discussion paper from Alzheimer’s Australia NSW.
The Most Difficult Decision: Dementia and the Move into Residential Aged Care was launched yesterday at Parliament House, Sydney, and coincided with a celebration of the organisation’s 30th anniversary.
The paper further found that almost half the numbers of people with dementia entered a residential facility directly from hospital, which decreased choice, rushed the decision making process and further magnified emotions.
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO John Watkins said is not surprising that carers feel guilt and pain but the increasing number of people being discharged from hospital and straight into residential care is.
“That, we understand, is because people are being cared for longer and longer at home until the dementia gets worse and then it’s that critical trigger point,” Mr Watkins told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“Something happens that affects that finally balanced structure and then there’s a desperate decision very quickly made,” he said.
Due to improving capacity in homecare, this situation is expected to grow, the study found.
As a result, the paper recommends better planning and information from health departments and a hospital discharge policy that provides a minimum of two days’ notice to assist the person with dementia, their carer and the residential facility with the transition. more
Source: Australian Ageing Agenda – 18 October 2012
The new non-profit but government-backed organisation, Livable Housing Australia (LHA), has finally been launched after more than a year of talk about plans for the new body to promote universal design standards, nationwide.
Established as part of the federal government’s $1 million commitment to promote universal design standards, announced in 2011, the new organisation will help make community-dwelling a more viable option for more people.
LHA will attempt to do this by persuading all builders, architects and aged care providers to build and design new homes according to a minimum standard of age-friendly design over the next seven years.
The one-month old organisation has therefore also launched a new nation-wide campaign to ensure that all new homes meet livable housing design guidelines and become safer, more comfortable, easier to get around, and cheap to adapt.
The campaign will target the housing industry to achieve the ‘Livable Housing Design Quality Mark’ and work with industry leaders to adopt seven critical age-friendly design features.
LHA’s chair, Peter Verwer, said livable home guidelines enable people to stay in their adaptable homes for longer as they age.
“Livable homes work for pregnant mums, young families with kids, as well and those with disability and Australians with sporting or traumatic injuries,” Mr Verwer said.
“‘Livability’ also caters for the needs of an ageing society by promoting homes better suited to seniors.” more
Source: Austrlaian Ageing Agenda 18 October 2012
More than 26,000 NSW-residents, from country towns and metropolitan areas alike, have put their names to a petition rallying the state government to up palliative care funding by $50 million in the 2012/13 budget.
The state-wide petition and campaign by the same name, More funds for palliative care, aims to draw attention to “gross deficiencies’ in the availability of palliative care for adults and children.
The campaign calls for greater funding to train a sufficient number of palliative care workers (nursing, medical and allied health) to service existing and future palliative care needs.
“…The June 2012 State Budget only allocated $5M to palliative care,” the campaign website reads.
“Due in part to our ageing population, the demand for palliative care services is increasing.
“Over the 10-year period from 1999 to 2009 the number of admissions for palliative care in Australian hospitals increased by 56 per cent. more
Source: KB – Resource.com Kitchen and Bathroom Design
Oct. 15-21 is National Aging in Place Week! Did you know that there were 40.3 million individuals ages 75 and older in 2010 and that by 2050, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that number to jump as high as 88.5 million?
This week, the National Aging in Place Council is sponsoring special events to promote awareness of a contemporary approach to senior living and helping older adults remain in their homes as long as possible, which includes universal design.
An AARP 2011 Boomer Housing Study revealed that although many Baby Boomers are comfortable with how they fit in their homes now, they recognize the need for features that will enhance how they will live in their later years. For example, 91% of Boomers said it is very important to have an accessible bedroom on the main level of the home. more
Source: Illawarra Mercury 14 October 2012
Music these days seems to be all about who will be the next young star to make it big.
Forgotten is the fact that there are a lot of older talented musicians out there still hankering to play to an audience.
And so the idea for the Older Musicians Club of Australia was born.
The club will be launched later this month and is encouraging older musos to get out and mix with other like-minded artists.
Club vice-president Michael Fox says music is for all ages and like laughter, it is the best medicine.
“So many venues encourage young musicians to strut their stuff, but not the older ones,” Fox says.
The club’s first meeting will be held at the Grand Hotel in Kiama on October 28 at 1pm, and Fox says the club is for anyone who has the desire to play music – whether they know just one song they’d like to belt out, they want to make new friends, or they have their heart set on forming a band.
“We’ve got a PA system and a band, so we can provide a backing band or instruments,” Fox says.
“The OMC is aimed at older musos who may be stuck in their spare room playing along with their favourite recorded music.
“They haven’t got the chance to mix with other musos.” more
Source: The-Conversation.edu.au 28 September 2012
Welcome to Shades of Grey, a series from The Conversation that examines the challenges posed by Australia’s ageing workforce. Today, Adjunct Associate Professor Margaret Patrickson from the University of South Australia takes a look at the underlying desires and expectations of our older workers.
Though much has been written about the issues that arise from workforce ageing, there is still not enough information about which older people might desire to work into their seventies or beyond — let alone whether they might actually have the opportunity to do so.
Since the turn of this century, both politicians and social analysts have consistently encouraged older people to remain in the workforce. The OECD has been especially vocal in this regard, even though there is little evidence to suggest these desires are being reflected in increasing opportunities for older people to work.
Lengthening life expectancy and consequent projected rising demands for pension income to support those no longer working underpin much of this rhetoric. Australian experience, however, indicates that unless older people have scarce sought-after skills or would be prepared to work either part time or accept power paid positions their options may be limited.
Those most likely either to seek a job — or find themselves a suitable niche in the workforce — tend to come either from skilled trades or professions, where skill shortages have forced employers to look outside their traditional hiring base. They include medical practitioners, plumbers, hairdressers, tilers, nurses, retail assistants, pharmacists and accountants.
They fall into two sub-groups. The first consists of skilled professionals who seek opportunities to continue to apply and utilise their skills, often on a part time or contract basis, and who gain significant personal satisfaction from making a contribution and feeling valued. This group contains a number of individuals who have previously reached high levels of expertise in their chosen profession, who command high salaries for their expertise and are often attributed with possessing high levels of wisdom and experience. more
Source: The_Conversation.edu.au 16 October 2012
Human life expectancy has increased so much over the last four generations that 72 can be considered “the new 30”, according to a study led by researchers from Germany.
The study, published today in US journal PNAS, found that mortality at younger ages is now 200 times lower than that of previous generations, with the bulk of mortality reduction occurring since 1990.
The study used already published data to make comparisons between human populations (past and present), and other species, said Susan Lawler, head of LaTrobe University’s Department of Environmental Management & Ecology.
The findings reveal that hunter gatherers at age 30 have the same probability of dying as Japanese individuals at age 72, with the average mortality of hunter gatherers nearer to chimpanzees than to humans in some industrialised countries.
By comparing the longevity of humans with that of other species, including fruit flies, the researchers make the case that the drop in mortality stems not from modifications to genes, but from the environment.
“We have therefore prolonged human life by altering our environment rather than by adapting to the environment,” Dr Lawler said.
But life expectancy still remains a challenge for some populations, with the study finding a large variation between the highest and lowest mortality populations. more