Home care boost welcomed but 'rightsizing' remains the missing piece
Encouraging and supporting older Australians to live independently for longer is a welcome focus of the Federal Budget, but blockages preventing many older Australians from ‘rightsizing’ their housing – particularly through the pension asset test – remain unaddressed.
“Extra funding to cut the home care waiting list is great news that will mean more people are able to access the support needed when and where they want to continue living independently,” said Ben Myers, Executive Director – Retirement Living at the Property Council of Australia.
“But when older people are living in big unwieldy homes with trip hazards and social isolation, home care will only ever have a limited impact on improving a person's health and wellbeing
“Providing targeted incentives to people who have a desire to ‘rightsize’ to a smaller, more easily maintained home would enable every dollar of home care funding to be stretched further.
“More importantly, it would help reduce the two biggest causes of hospitalisation for older Australians – falls and social isolation.”
“Enabling pensioners to borrow against the value of their homes through an expansion of the Pension Loans Scheme is another positive step and we will work with the Government to ensure this support is available to the nearly 200,000 residents of Australian retirement villages.
“We are also looking forward to seeing detail on how the government plans to make the My Aged Care website easier to use and what information will be provided through the proposed navigator services, to make sure that older Australians are given support to make the right decisions, and not just information about government funded aged care services,” Mr Myers said.
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