It is no secret that Australia’s population is ageing significantly and with the number of people aged 85 and older projected to triple to 1.9 million by 2060, planning for the future of aged care is more important than ever.
We are all getting older and with that comes many milestones – the first grandchild, retirement, rightsizing the house and for many, inevitably needing more assistance at home, once we become frailer as we age.
It’s projected that by 2050, more than 3.5 million Australians will be using aged care services and many of those will be living in residential aged care.
While it is not a conversation people may want to have, it’s important to have the conversation and to prepare, as the need to transition to residential aged care often emerges with little warning.
Creating Communities works with several Aged Care providers to ensure communities are future-ready, ensuring elderly people continue to live their best lives in the communities where they have contributed so much.
Our work involves engaging with local communities prior to the planning and development of residential aged care, looking into ways new aged care facilities and services can be integrated into the local community.
Creating Communities director Andrew Watt said it is an inevitable part of life for many that they will one day have to consider where their loved one, or they themselves, will live when they need support.
“Many people have had to worry about a family member when they get to that age and often, it can be quite a sudden, quick decision to place someone into residential aged care,” he said.
‘Many don’t want to downsize much and instead want to rightsize which can be a reconfiguration of what they need.
“ We want to make sure local communities recognise the importance of these facilities and services, because they are homes for older Australians who will continue to live a good life, just with a bit more assistance. ”— ANDREW WATT
He said residential aged care homes are vital to communities, so that people do not need to leave their neighbourhoods and local social connections when they get to that stage of life.
“Australia is currently facing a shortage of residential aged care beds and with a population that is ageing, it is vital to community members that they have the option when they are at that stage, to receive care in the community where they have spent a good part of their life.
“One of the key challenges in the modern era of aged care developments is that new facilities need to be of a sufficient scale to be viable to operate and offer the amenities and services older Australian’s deserve.
“Rather than opposing new aged care developments, which can be a change to the street and neighbourhood, there is the opportunity for local residents to embrace new aged care homes to provide a place for older Australians to age well in their local area.”
Andrew said new aged care homes are not like hospitals, as some opponents to aged care developments like to portray them.
“They are homes for elderly or frail Australians who need our support and understanding,” he said.
“Aged care residents are often great neighbours – they are usually quiet, interested in their local community and seek positive social connection with others.”
Opal Healthcare Senior Development Manager Mark Lederer noted a vital step in the development process is for direct local community consultation and engagement to be embedded when developing a new aged care home.
“We want to be good neighbours, we will seek many of the neighbouring homes change ownership during our steward ship and we seek to align that our clients maintain their connections to friends and community that they have contributed to during their more active years,” he said.
“ Creating Communities have been a great facilitator and resource to align our message and purpose during the planning and development stages. ”— MARK LEDERER
“By doing this we can make sure the homes we build for elderly Australian’s become an integral part of the community.”
Community development is about making sure our communities are better for everyone, at all stages of life and supporting the development of new aged care homes is one of the most important things communities can do to ensure their community is age friendly.