Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Our home care package disgrace
RECENTLY the ABC reported that 101,508 Australians who have been assessed as needing home care packages are still waiting to have them delivered, some for more than a year. Based on population, that means over 7000 South Australians and at least 150 in the Chaffey electoral division alone.
The people affected are older South Australians with disabilities – people who have already made their contributions to our prosperity. Some of those receiving no care package require assistance even to get out of bed in the morning and have the choice of paying professional carers out of their pensions or staying in bed all day.
Because of National Disability Insurance Scheme rules, anyone whose disability dates from after their 65th birthday will be dependent on the aged care system. There are particular problems for people living in regions where assistance is likely to be located much further from their homes.
It can even result in people having to move to residential care facilities, which in our region could be many kilometres from home and loved ones, when they could have been able to stay in their own homes with home care package support.
Care in a residential facility costs up to 10 times more than home care, so this failure is not only cruel to ageing South Australians with disabilities, it potentially costs taxpayers billions of dollars. This situation is a disgrace and every day it’s allowed to persist diminishes us all as a caring society.
The Federal Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, has acknowledged this is the result of a series of mistakes. The fact that these mistakes have been made and this deplorable situation allowed to develop is a big reminder of the need for a voice in government to represent older South Australians and those with disabilities.
For the past eight years Kelly Vincent MP, the parliamentary leader of the Dignity Party, has been that voice in the SA Parliament. We are now less than 40 days from a crucial SA election.
For the sake of the thousands of older South Australians and South Australians with disabilities, who are affected by poorly thought-out government decisions generally, vote for the Dignity Party lower house candidate in your electorate and for the Dignity Party upper house team, led by Ms Vincent.
RICHARD CHALLIS Dignity Party Candidate for Chaffey Renmark