Last Friday (22 March 2019), the Australian Government announced a commitment to halving the number of younger people with disability entering residential aged care within 5 years. This is a significant announcement for the 50 younger Australians who are currently moving permanently into aged care every week.
Importantly for the 6000 younger Australians currently living in aged care, the government’s Younger People in Residential Aged Care Action Plan has also committed to supporting them to find appropriate alternative housing.
The Summer Foundation enthusiastically welcomes the targets set in the Australian Government Action Plan. We are pleased to see a clear target set to halve the number of young people entering aged care. This is a great step toward our goal of ultimately seeing no young person being forced to enter aged care.
We thank the Minister for Families & Social Services, Paul Fletcher MP, and Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson MP, for delivering this important plan.
The action plan acknowledges the complex nature of the problem, and recognises the need for the Health, Housing and Disability sectors to work collaboratively to reduce the number of young people admitted into aged care.
The Summer Foundation’s work to date has shown that a collaborative approach is critical. Through a collaborative approach the goal of halving the number of young people admitted into aged care can be achieved more quickly than the timeframes outlined in the action plan.
To young people faced with the prospect of moving into aged care, this action plan is saying that there should be other options option to you – that the government is committed to funding more suitable alternatives. And for those young people already in aged care who are wanting to move out, it is telling you that you will be supported.
The Summer Foundation looks forward to working closely with the Australian Government in the development of the detailed implementation plan to support the achievement of these goals. We also strongly encourage the States and Commonwealth to reflect these goals and actions in the revised National Disability Agreement and National Disability Strategy.