"Every lead-up to the Federal Budget is the same for aged care providers: an opportunity to cry poor", said CPSA Policy Coordinator Paul Versteege in response to a call by the National Aged Care Alliance for urgent action in the Sydney area.
"CPSA calls on the Federal Community Cabinet, meeting today in Sydney, to ignore the sham despair of the nursing home barons, and their lobby organisation the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), and focus instead on the needs of the people in care.
"The National Aged Care Alliance's calls for thousands of more nursing home places in Sydney but far fewer community aged care places shows that the Alliance is primarily interested in entrenching the Dickensian practice of institutionalising older people in need of care.
"What Sydney, and indeed Australia needs is less nursing homes and less nursing home beds. Nursing homes are islands of misery and nine out of ten residents are perfectly capable of living independently with support if only suitable housing was available. Nursing homes are the cheapest way of hiding older people from view under the pre-tense that they are being cared for.
"The National Aged Care Alliance, consisting of aged care providers and the people that work for them, has only a financial interest to pursue and is in no way interested in improving the lot of people stuck in nursing homes. It is pushing for uncapped nursing home fees to be paid for by mass reverse mortgaging of the family home of older Australians as proposed by the Productivity Commission.
"Claims by the Council on the Ageing (COTA), which has inexplicably thrown in its lot with the nursing home barons and become a member of the National Aged Care Alliance, that it represents 500,000 older Australians, is a gross overstatement: its actual membership is less than 50,000 Australia wide.
"CPSA supports a social insurance approach to the funding of aged, disability, general health and dental care, but recognises that this approach should have been taken decades ago.
"CPSA wants a progressive approach to levying co-contributions for care costs. Progressive means that people with more assets should pay more than people with fewer assets.
"The home, being a vital factor in people’s sense of security, should be excluded from the means test for co-contributions. Few pensioners live in million dollar homes. If they did, they wouldn’t be pensioners.
"Rather than making people gradually hand over their home equity to aged care providers when they go into a nursing home, people should be able to buy a nursing home place which they or their heirs can later sell, just like a unit in a retirement village can be sold.
"However, the future for residential aged care lies in clustered residential development, using universal design principles that enable independent living and the effective and efficient delivery of community aged care. It would enable couples to stay together. The common situation, where one member of a couple goes into a nursing home, would become an exceptional situation.
"Nursing homes are islands of misery and living there is a certain recipe for depression and premature death", said Versteege.
Media Contact: Paul Versteege, Policy Coordinator
Mobile: 0409 814181