Australia has an aging population. The older residents are a lot like the younger residents – they still have hopes, dreams, aspirations and goals even though Baby Boomers may be more financially secure and settled in life than Gen X or Millennials. Everyone is entitled to age gracefully and with dignity. Aged care services need to provide more for the aging population than just the basic needs like shelter, food and water. Let’s unpack this a bit more and find out what the broad term, aged care, encompasses.
Community care essentially means that an aged care provider provides services to you or your loved one while you, or they, are still living independently at home. This may mean as little as some extra help with the gardening and chores or as much as specialist health professional visits or registered nurses popping by to check in after a stint in the hospital. Your needs are likely to vary as you get older, so a good community care provider can support you to stay living at home for a long period of time before you make the transition into residential care.
Residential Aged Care
Residential aged care providers are registered with the government, so they undergo strict quality and governance safeguards to ensure that they’re offering nothing but the finest in care for you or your parents. While residential care does provide for basic human needs like food, shelter, water and beds, they offer so much more as well. Trained and qualified nurses are available around the clock to dispense medications and attend to immediate health concerns. Doctors are on call and available should a medical condition get worse or symptoms develop. Occupational Therapists and Social Workers can be called in to assist you to live your life to the fullest while in residential care.
Respite care is a bit different. Essentially, it is a short-term period of care provided to you to give your carer a bit of a break. This is the perfect type of care for those who are dependant on adult children as they age. Respite care can be for a day, or a week, and allows the carer to take a break and fully restore their batteries, enabling them to return to their caring duties with renewed vigour and vim. Again, this type of care is more than just basic needs as it provides everything that residential or community care does but for a shorter duration.
Another type of aged care is a retirement village. These are communities of self-contained units or cottages where the elderly can live with a great deal of independence, while still having immediate access to support. People can live in these communities while receiving support shopping, cleaning and to run other errands. Medical staff are on call should anything go awry, and retirement village units are also fitted with emergency duress alarms in case of accidents in the home.
Aged care services are so much more than just providers of basic needs. Community care offers tailored support while people can live independently. Residential care provides intensive support provided by qualified and trained staff. Respite care can help elderly people and their carers take a small break, and retirement villages allow for independence, community and support, enabling you to live a full life into retirement. And remember – ageing doesn’t have to mean giving up everything – you can still have fun and live life to the fullest!