Aged Care

Tapping into retirement communities to address aged care needs

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The Retirement Living Council (RLC) is advocating for a reimagined approach to funding and delivering home care services for older Australians, urging the government to tap into the potential of retirement communities.

In its pre-budget submission, the RLC proposed a ‘Shared Care’ framework, which suggests that retirement living communities should receive funding to directly provide home care services to their residents.

RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon emphasised that retirement communities are well-positioned to offer essential care services, enabling residents to lead independent and healthy lives as they age.

“With the number of Australians over the age of 75 set to grow by 70 per cent by 2040, it’s not possible to talk about the future of care and the demand for these services without considering the important housing and health value proposition of the retirement living industry,” Gannon stated.

He highlighted the unique housing and health benefits retirement communities offer, noting that many older Australians call these communities home. Therefore, the approach to home care should align with this reality.

Gannon emphasised that addressing the challenges in aged care requires innovative solutions, rather than solely relying on increased government aged care funding.

“Retirement communities can deliver better outcomes, experiences and value for older Australians accessing care – and there are benefits for government too,” he said.

Currently, over a million Australians access home care services, but bureaucratic hurdles often delay their access to necessary support. Gannon pointed out that a significant portion of funding is lost to administrative fees before reaching the intended recipients.

To address these issues, the RLC proposed the Shared Care framework, aiming to make home care delivery nearly 20% more efficient. This would result in greater value for money, with older Australians receiving more care for each dollar invested.

“This ‘shared care’ approach would provide three models for retirement village operators to deliver community-based care services under the Support at Home program within the village setting, either independently or through a delivery partner,” Gannon explained.

“These models have been developed to show that significant efficiencies and savings to consumers and government can be achieved, even at moderate levels of uptake, with no cost to government,” he added.

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