Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has warned of a looming crisis in aged care after seeing a spike in local constituents contacting her to complain they had been waiting for up to a year for in-home aged care packages to become available.
Ms Claydon told the Federal Parliament that 100,000 older Australians are waiting to access home care packages they had already been approved for, including 80,000 who have been identified as having high care needs or dementia.
“The terrible, shameful truth about aged care in Australia is that people are literally dying while they wait for these packages to become available,” Ms Claydon said.
“New South Wales is the worst state with close to 35,000 older Australians stuck on the waiting list.”
Ms Claydon shared the story of one Novocastrian who had been forced to wait almost a year for a support package for his 90-year old mother to become available.
“One gentleman who contacted my office was totally at his wits end after waiting close to a year for a high-level package for his 90-year-old mother to be approved,” Ms Claydon said.
“This package would have allowed her to maintain her independence by providing in-home support for things like cleaning and personal care.”
Ms Claydon said her constituent had logged more than 300 hours talking to My Aged Care and Centrelink as he battled to get help for his mother.
“The situation got so bad, he even considered putting his mother in a home. He didn’t want to do this, but, having his own health problems, he simply couldn’t physically care for his mother by himself.
“I’m pleased that my office was able to help this man and his mother, but too many other people are still languishing on the waiting list.”
Ms Claydon called on the Government to properly fund home care packages.
“Proper investment in-home care support is critical to helping older Australians stay living in their own homes longer,” Ms Claydon said.
“It is shameful that the Turnbull Government is prioritising tax cuts for big business over vital support for older Australians.”
Sharon Claydon’s full speech to the Parliament is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEmMIuy62EA