MEDIA RELEASE: Boost in numbers of restorative care places mean more choice and control for older Australians

Australia’s leading seniors’ advocacy organisation, COTA Australia, today welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of an extra 775 new short-term restorative care places, which will help many more older Australians continue to lead independent and healthy lives.

The Federal Government has allocated $58 million towards the new places, which will see an extra 5,000 people every year access short-term restorative care.

Chief Executive of COTA Australia, Ian Yates, said the restorative care program is an “important part of reshaping aged care to enable older people to remain independent longer and have more control over the support and care they receive, rather than becoming more and more dependent on services.”

“The restorative care program assists older Australians access personalised care and support services and has been designed to help people stay at home and in their community despite frailty and disability, by making a concentrated package of supports available to restore their ability to maintain their independence,” Mr Yates said.

The restorative care program is delivered over a period of up to eight weeks and can include treatments such as strengthening exercises, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, along with home and furniture modifications.

Mr Yates said that “too many people are unnecessarily and prematurely admitted into residential care or even assigned high level home care packages, making them dependent on long term care, when the right supports delivered promptly and tailored to each person’s needs can restore their capacities with much lower levels of ongoing support.”

“It is good to see the Government focusing on the importance of choice and control in their approach to restorative care and it’d be great to see a similar approach taken across the board in aged care policy,” said Mr Yates.

“For example, government needs to keep moving to create a single integrated Care at Home program focused on supporting people to stay at home without having to fit into artificial “silos” created by different government programs with confusing and overlapping rules, assessments and funding arrangements.

“The fundamental challenge in aged care policy is coming up with ways to ensure older Australians maintain autonomy and have control over their own lives – this announcement today hits the nail on the head and should serve as a guide for all future aged care reform,” said Mr Yates.

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Bronte Kerr 0411 676 269

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.