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The Forum > Article Comments > Aged care costs > Comments

Aged care costs : Comments

By Gerard Mansour, published 25/9/2007

The other side of the aged-care cost debate; where will the money come from?

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Gerard, I suggest that it's the Federal Government that should provide for our aged in the twilight of their lives, I mean to say, where the hell do you expect the poor old buggers to find $250,000? Perhaps by selling their homes?

Traditionally, Australia's aged have passed on their homes to their children or, after their deaths, the home has been sold and the funds re-distributed amongst their off-spring or relatives. Despite all the rubbish you hear on radio and the television, not all "baby boomers" are hell bent on spending their children's inheritance.

I suggest the Government should have to pay all fees and perhaps for the funeral too since they're the ones paying people to have more children than can be adequately supported in this dry and arid land. Also, it's the Government who continue to force unsustainable levels of immigration upon us.
And now we have that 'spawn of Satan' Family First saying the Government should pay $10,000 for the third child and every child thereafter! Just how crazy is that? And to think people actually vote for these religious nut jobs?

My plan is to hand down my home to my children, should our futures stay as predictable as they are at present and it doesn't include allowing myself to become old, weak and useless. I aim to go while there's still a glimmer of respect in my eye and with the knowledge that I've done all I can to set my children on the path to independence.
Posted by Aime, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 10:12:56 AM
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The discussion on the bond fails to reveal many important points. When you get the bond back, there is NO interest because the aged care system takes it all, and deducts another $3000.00 per year up to a maximum of five years, plus they get , in my mother's case, over $700 per week subsidy from the government, plus the $216 dollars per week from her pension— it all adds up to quite a tidy sum (her bond was $120,000).

Oh, lets not forget that people in aged care have to pay extra for activites, even games such as bingo ... pure greed and exploitation.

And.... if you haven't been able to sell your home the accrued interest on the unpaid bond, set at over 9%, comes out of the $33,000.00 they' re required to leave you with, so a person can be left with nothing.

Does this matter? …yes … It is about respecting the meaning these aged people have attached to their lives; their core values, beliefs and helping each other.

I could have looked after my mother very well thankyou, if I had received the type of funding these aged care facilities get. Her care would have been far better. I would have been able to employ someone to help part of the time to give myself time off...with money left over. My mother would have received 1:1 care, had real conversation and engagement, not the facade that take place in most aged care facilities,

There is nothing wrong with paying a bond but it should not be exploitive. Given there is no set 'staff to patient' ratio, and the aged care facilities get away with as little as possible (1 staff member per 15 patients for 13 hours a day and for the rest of the time, 1 staff member for over 100 patients in the case of the facility where my mother was).

We need a new model, And we need those supporting the curent bond system to tell it as it is, not pretend it is fair by hiding some of the details,
Posted by ShebaB, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 11:03:26 AM
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Both posts reveal why it's so dangerous to have a discussion about residential aged care by simply assuming bad faith from providers.

*Taxpayers DO provide for our aged in their twilight to the tune of $4 billion per year.Quality aged care costs money. A full time registered Nurse in aged care earns $55 k plus per year for example.

*I've moved homes before and each time sold my first to finance the second. This is the principle applied in aged hostels. There's no reason that it shouldn't in high care.

*It's understandable to desire the proceeds of one's home to pass on to (adult)children however this shouldn’t be at the expense of others. Elderly people's assets should be used for their betterment not those of adult children.

*Residential aged care recipients do NOT have to pay extra for activities - unless the facility is extra service . The provision of activities is a “prescribed service”.

*The Aged Care Act 1997 prohibits a situation where "a person can be left with nothing". Residents must be left with a minimum amount of assets after all fees are deducted.

*No aged care funding system in Australia comes anywhere providing one-on-one care. To fund this would cost two a three times the subsidy levels currently available.

*The accreditation standards specifically examine the adequacy of staffing resources to patient needs. Whilst it's true there is no resident to staff ratio there’s no evidence that there needs to be.

* What's not transparent is how we will fund an additional 50,000 places in the next 30 years at a cost of $150,000 per place [excluding land] without asking residents who can afford it to make a contribution?

The Labor party introduced accommodation bonds to aged care. It's a system which works well.

Let's hope that after the shameful , highly political 1997 debate about bonds in high care ( where self interest dressed up as altruism prevailed ) , the media and the community might actually think about our obligations to the frail aged and how these should be met.
Posted by Xerxes, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 12:27:18 PM
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It terrifies me whats in store for the elderly in 20, 30 or even 50 years time.
My biggest worry is being treated with respect no matter what the cost of care I receive.
As the world gets a tiny bit colder with every passing day I wonder what we can all do to ensure continuing respect for who are, in my view our most treasured citizens.
Posted by Tobias, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 12:39:15 PM
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Great to hear aged costs are being considered, but surely it would be better to assist those of us who wish to stay in our own homes and would not be a burden to the aged care scenario. Personally, most of our friends and associates trying to survive on the aged pension need financial assistance, and we need it NOW!! It's sad to see friends who cannot sustain their own home, even though they own it outright, or must move to cheaper areas to afford rents after living here most of their lives, almost all because of the meteoric increase in the cost of living. I'll just quote some average increases: rates, up 14% in two years, groceries, over 21% in the same period, petrol and car maintenance, up at least 40%, tradesmen costs for small necessary jobs, up to 100% higher, and the list goes on. We are seriously having to follow our friends and sell up as we can no longer live on the aged pension. It simply is not enough. And we do not waste our benefits on drugs, booze, pokie machines, tattoos and parties, most of us are frugal to a fault. If Labor wants to encourage the Coalition's major vote base, the elderly, to re-think their allegiances, offer a substantial increase in aged pensions, if possible to those with next to no asset base, who really need help. We do not want to sell, and the real estate hype about "downsizing" is rubbish. Most elderly are selling to survive!!
Posted by povertycumseasy!!, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 2:38:45 PM
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I'm not sure of the utility of a "user pays" system for nursing home care. As I understand it, the rationale of user pays is that it increases economic efficiency as consumers face "appropriate price signals". This is all predicated on the notion of "consumer choice", ie that consumers can be dissuaded from utilizing a service they don't need, by adding a cost component.

At any one time, about 3% of the aged population are in nursing homes. Over half of nursing home residents have dementia. Three quarters have disruptive behaviours. The vast majority of nursing home residents need that level of care they are getting. Perhaps someone would be so kind as to explain what use "price signals" are in this context? Do we really want demented souls wandering the streets?

Total government expenditure on residential aged care was approximately $5 billion in 2004/5 Presumably high needs care accounted for something like 50% of this, maybe $2.5 billion, which is about the same as the cost as the (largely ineffectual) private health insurance rebate scheme.

Why do I get the nagging feeling that Gerard Mansour's campaign has more to do with the bottom line of his member organisations than with any "looming crisis" in aged care? Do they simply want to get their hands on all that lovely capital tied up in elderly people's homes?
Posted by Johnj, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 11:11:02 PM
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