National Seniors Australia is demanding changes to building rules so seniors can stay in their own homes and avoid being trapped into residential aged care.
Australia’s peak consumer organisation for older Australians has teamed up with disability groups calling for the National Construction Code (NCC) to be changed to make basic accessibility features mandatory in housing construction.
The issue will be discussed when federal, state and territory housing ministers meet next month.
National Seniors Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke says this is an opportunity to help older Australians stay in their homes for longer.
“All we want are some minimum accessibility standards in all new homes like a step free entrance and wider doorways.
“It’s not a big ask but it will bring about big changes to people’s lives,” Mr Henschke said.
“If governments don’t act, then once again they are letting down two of our biggest disadvantaged groups.
“Self-regulation hasn’t worked in aged care and we have joined with the disability sector demanding governments to act,” said Mr Henschke.
He was referring to figures which show under the voluntary system, just 5% of homes built in the past ten years included basic accessibility features.
Research by ‘Building Better Homes’ has also found the design of some homes mean some older Australians are unable to leave their house at all. National Seniors raised this issue last year at the Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety and is circulating a petition calling for change.