Lydia Mc Williams
AUSTRALIA’S AGEING POPULATION COUPLED WITH INCREASED LIFE EXPECTANCY, MEANS THAT THE RETIREMENT YEARS HAVE INCREASED AND THE YEARS FOR WHICH SUPPORTED CARE IS NEEDED HAS ALSO INCREASED. I WAS AMAZED WHEN I RECENTLY GLANCED AT OUR POPULATION PYRAMIDS IN AN ARTICLE, WHICH VISUALLY SHOW THIS GROWTH. IN 2044 OUR POPULATION PYRAMID WILL BECOME INVERTED WITH THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE OVER 60 OUTNUMBERING PEOPLE UNDER 18 FOR THE FIRST TIME (WOW). THIS WILL CERTAINLY KEEP THE QUEEN BUSY, AS THIS YEAR SHE WILL HAVE TO WRITE 2,643 LETTERS OF CONGRATULATIONS FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS WHO WILL TURN 100 THIS YEAR (ONLY 40 LETTERS OF CONGRATULATIONS NEEDED TO BE SENT IN 1952).
Australia’s aged care sector is under pressure to meet this demand while also facing significant recruitment and workforce challenges. In the aged care sector the median age for a residential direct care worker is 48 and community direct care workers is 50 which makes it the sector with the highest median age of an employee in the country. This means that half of the current aged care workforce will reach retirement age in the next 15 years, which equates to an astonishing 668 farewells per month (that’s a lot of cake)..
Scott Morrison’s announcement of a nursing homes Royal Commission shall add yet another pressure to the industry in the months ahead. With the sector about to set sail into uncharted waters, providers, staff, consumers and the wider community are all wondering what this all means. What does it mean for this sector?
From the best of my knowledge and from conversations I have been having with my contacts across the industry, I understand that the Royal Commission was called to look at:
Quality of care
The extent of any substandard care
The challenge of caring for young people with disabilities living in residential aged care settings
The challenge of changing demographics and remote, rural and regional Australia
The sector’s future needs
A two-part Four Corners investigation of aged care has been cited as a factor in the timing of the Royal Commission announcement. Did many people tune into that? If you did, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
So it seems like families of residents in aged care welcome the Royal Commission however operators fear it’s impact, especially if it shall be anything like the banking royal commission which unearthed a multitude of horror stories. At the end of the day and whatever may happen, it will hopefully provoke some serious soul searching and a national conversation about our attitudes to ageing as well as achieve improvement for both consumers and staff across the industry going forward.
Anyone who knows me will be aware of the fact that I love a good quote, so in order to stay true to myself I shall finish with one;
“Everyone thinks they're not going to get old, so no one's really bothered... but we're making a bed that most of us will have to lie in” - Monash University professor Joe Ibrahim
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, please feel free to contact me for a confidential discussion.
Lydia Mc Williams
Project Resource Partners
Level 29, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T +61 3 9949 8100 D +61 3 9949 8106