Leading senior’s advocacy group, COTA Australia, commends the government for recognising the diverse characteristics and life experiences of older Australians and their efforts to build an inclusive, respectful and person centred aged care system.
Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, released this morning Australia’s new Aged Care Diversity Framework, designed to support the government, aged care providers, consumers, families and carers by addressing the specific barriers and challenges faced by Australia’s diverse ageing population.
Chief Executive of COTA Australia, Ian Yates, welcomed the framework announced this morning, recognising it as an important step in ensuring all older Australians, irrespective of their background, have choice and control over how they access aged care.
“Australians have a range of life experiences and diverse characteristics that continue to be reflected in our older population,” said Mr Yates.
According to the National Aged Care Alliance, over 36% of older Australians were born outside Australia, 100,000 people come from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, almost 15,000 experience or are at risk of homelessness and around one in 10 live with cognitive impairment including dementia.
“As the population ages, different parts of the Australian population will be seeking aged care services that are responsive and inclusive of their individual needs,” said Mr Yates.
“The aged care sector must respond to the needs of Australia’s diverse older people and provide care that is targeted, appropriate and responsive to the cultural, linguistic, sexual, economic status, geography and spiritual needs and life experiences of each individual.
“We would encourage all providers to include within their continuous improvement processes plans for how their organisation will respond to the needs of their local community’s diversity.”
COTA Australia welcomes the three action plans currently being developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from CALD backgrounds and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse and Intersex (LGBTI) peoples.
COTA Australia also welcomes the Minister’s comments during the launch that the Government would consider developing one for older Homeless Australians and calls on the Government to consider developing an action plan for older Australians with a disability.
“The progressive NDIS roll out across Australia over the next 18 months triggers the state and territory agreement that the Commonwealth will take responsibility for the needs of older Australians with a disability. It’s critical to ensure our systems are inclusive of older Australians with a disability and a diversity action plan will be a good method to identify the issues to deliver for this community.”
COTA Australia looks forward to working with the government, aged care providers and consumers to build a more inclusive and equitable aged care system over the coming years.
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.