Up to 40 percent of individuals in aged care homes never get visitors, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has told the National Press Club.
“It saddens me immensely,” Mr. Wyatt said.
He said it had been a figure he had heard instead of a solid statistic, but Mr. Wyatt said he was dismayed that older people were left on their own without family contact.
“Our love should not be conditional on a point in age, or because we drift away from those who once gave of themselves to care for us,” he said.
“I have heard that up to 40 percent of people in residential aged care have no visitors 365 days of the year.”
Mr. Wyatt said loneliness was one in all the foremost disturbing trends he sees and told the Press Club it had been a difficulty for those with dementia specifically.
He urged all Australians to question how they might want to be treated.
“We must all ask ourselves: Do I want to be abandoned in my later years? Is this what my elders deserve? Is this how I want to live out my days?” he said.
He called for more love and respect for older people.
“When I talk to people in aged care, I find so many who crave simple touch, a hug, the warmth of palms clasped together, or a soothing hand on their shoulder,” he said.
Mr. Wyatt used the speech at the National Press Club to announce plans to audit nursing homes without warning under a Commonwealth shake-up of the aged care industry.
News report from: ABC
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