Demand for more age care spending – new research

New research shows we want the government to spend more and we’re willing to pitch in. But, how can we?

Do you want the government to spend more on at-home and residential aged care? And how much would you be personally willing to spend?

These are questions that are answered in new research commissioned by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The research says the vast majority of us (90 per cent) want more spending on aged care.

It’s research that the government, facing massive national COVID-19 debt, would rather not have to consider. That means - like it or not, we will be paying more ourselves.

This is so, given the context that the commission’s interim report supported the fundamental overhaul of the design, objectives, regulation and funding of aged care.

The Flinders University research was based on a survey of 10,000 adults not currently using aged care services. It showed that Australians want the boosted funding to ensure universal access to high-quality aged care services.

What about us

And while the research finds we want the government to do more, we’re also willing to chip in to keep us out of residential care for as long as possible.

The majority of people said they would be willing to make co-contribution payments if they needed to access aged care services in the future.

People with current experiences of the aged care system would be willing to pay a higher co-contribution than those without current experience. More than 70 per cent would be willing to pay a larger co-contribution to receive the support they need to remain living at home rather than entering a residential aged care facility.

How much?

On average, respondents were willing to pay $184 a week (equating to $,9568 a year) to achieve this.

A significant minority of respondents (10 per cent) indicated they would be willing to pay relatively high amounts of at least $450 a week (equating to $23,400 a year) to remain living at home and avoid moving into a residential care facility.

The report also found more than 60 per cent of income taxpayers were willing to pay more income tax to support a quality aged-care system in Australia.

These taxpayers were willing to pay an additional 1.4 per cent a year on average to ensure all Australians in need have access to a satisfactory level of quality aged care, and an additional 3.1 per cent a year on ­average to ensure all Australians in need have access to a high level of quality aged care.

Care priorities

People said the most important attributes of satisfactory quality aged care were being treated with respect and dignity, aged care staff having appropriate skills and training, and receiving the health and wellbeing services they need.

The most important attributes to elevate from satisfactory to high/very high quality are the ability to lodge complaints with confidence that appropriate action will be taken; followed by sufficient, and skilled and qualified aged care staffing; and health and wellbeing services.

Being supported to make your own decisions about care and services was among the less influential characteristics, even though this is a central tenet of the current aged care system.

How to fund your co-contribution

Co-contributing to home care can be expensive and many older people end up having a service provider visit for just a few hours a week.

But there is a way to afford more hours. It’s called the Pension Loans Scheme.

By using the equity in your property (home or any other property) you can not only stay in your home longer but also get more hours of personal care.

Given around 75 per cent of older Australians are home and/or property owners, using the home to generate income to spend on health care as we get older makes sense.

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