Issues: National reablement trials, home care packages in Budget
Ken Wyatt: It’s important to be able to do the cooking and simple things in the house because they had relied on the love of their life to do all of that.
The reverse is women are very independent. But there are still aspects to movement, the way you bend down to that bottom draw, that’s important that there are safe ways of doing that.
As Daisy pointed out to me you don’t want to have a fall and you don’t want to break a bone. Daisy, I’ll let you say a few words.
Unidentified speaker: As we get older we get set in our ways.
Ken Wyatt: Well actually I think we get set in our ways once we hit our 20’s. But the challenge for all of this is that we know that our bodies change as we age.
And programs like Aspire for Life and the work that Graham does means that you have people that will come out and to spend some time with you – walk you through what it is that you need to think about to prevent a fall.
Now what’s great for Daisy is that she’s seen two family members go through this and she doesn’t want to experience that, so she’s adjusted.
And- that’s why I made the comment earlier, I think she’s done some teaching of us this morning as well. So it’s been great having those conversations.
All of this, I think males are the worst with change – we get set in our ways – whereas women use a lot of common sense. And I don’t mean that in a negative way.
You see the practical use of appliances in a home and when we look around Daisy’s home we can see the way she’s modified her house to suit her needs and for her mobility.
Even shopping, the simple thing of taking out the washing trolley, loading it with a few items after she’s been shopping and then bringing it back inside and putting it away and then going back out again.
She doesn’t try to take the whole of her shopping in one hit because as we get older we become frailer in terms of muscles and skeletal structure and sometimes we can cause ourselves an injury. And you want to be independent.
Daisy Hunkel: You’ve got to have common sense. Everybody has to have common sense. If they don’t they fall. And break a hip-
Question: Wo have you learned that from others? You said there was others, you had two others?
Daisy: I’m a baby of nine I had brothers and sisters that were teaching me things and I’d see them do things wrong and I’d say I’m not going to do that. You know.
Question: And that’s something that’s continued to this day?
Daisy: Yeah, I’ve always been like that ever since I was a little kid.
Question: So that’s where- would that be where the Think Before You Move came from?
Daisy: Yes. Well not really, it was- I didn’t want to hurt myself. And I’d seen my husband before he died, he hurt himself a lot by falling over because he wouldn’t lift his feet.
So that means he wasn’t thinking before he took a step. I mean and that’s all people have got to do – just think before you move. That’s all I can say.
And keep being kind to everybody, it makes you a good person.
Question: And Minister, just how does this this program differ from what had been offered before?
Ken Wyatt: I think one of the things that’s very different about this is the whole notion of teaching people about their own safety. When we teach each other we learn in a very different way to sitting in a classroom.
It’s one on one and you’re having a conversation as you walk through the home and you’re saying: Daisy show me how you get to the fridge, or: how do you manage in your studio.
And we can see the steps that Daisy’s taken to make a difference so that she doesn’t fall. But she’s also has her table at the right height to be able to do the work that she does. And that’s what’s important – it’s just peer teaching in a sense.
Even though somebody might be younger, we shouldn’t think of age as being the barrier between a young person and somebody who’s in their 80’s. It is about two unique individuals just teaching each other and sharing ideas about how they can best manoeuver and move around their home.
Question: So how many people will this actually help? We know its- the aging population is growing.
Ken Wyatt: I want to eventually reach the 1.3 million Australians in total because even in residential care what I see sometimes is people just sitting in a chair.
But I’ve also seen aged care facilities that are putting into place walking areas so you can walk around the external areas of the building. I was in a dementia unit, they’ve built an interior pathway that people walk around and exercise, but they don’t sit as frequently as they used to.
And by being mobile we’re not wasting muscle capacity, we’re not causing our joints to go stiff. And that’s the beauty of mobility for all of us.
Question: But this funding package how many people will it help? Like you obviously have the aim for 1.3 million.
Ken Wyatt: Well that’ll depend on each of the areas because I think that Graham covers roughly nine areas per the Aspire for Life Program – that’s Aged Care areas – and so he’ll be making known to people that these services are available.
People will take them up and become involved in that whole process.
Question: Minister the Federal Government has announced 10,000 at home packages. But the community groups say that’s only one tenth of what’s needed.
What’s your response to that?
Ken Wyatt: Well I don’t stop negotiating for more packages. We’ve rolled out 40,000. Over the four years we will reach 157,000 packages in total.
There’s also this tension for Level 4. Level 4 is what people desire in order to live at home even though they’re in the final stages of their life because they’ve reached that point of frailty with the tension of going into residential aged care where you get 24/7 support.
So families are making decisions and we’ll continue to [Indistinct] even though there is [Indistinct], there are a number of people on that list who have not exercised their options.
They’ve received a letter to say you have been assigned [Indistinct] package and then they have 56 days in which to choose a provider. And then if they haven’t found one by then they can apply for an extension for another 28 days.
But we see the list waxing and waning in the sense of the number who need Level 4’s, 3’s, 2’s and 1’s. And we also have the Commonwealth Home Support Program, which provides interventions.
But what the department does in working with providers is to try and make sure that people have a mix of whatever it is to enable them to remain at home even though it may not be their Level 4 package, that they receive a 2, it's an intervention until the next set of four- level 4 packages become available.
Question: Will you commit to announcing for some more packages in the years?
Ken Wyatt: Well, I’ve just said that we're going to increase to 157,000. So I commit to that, it's in the budget.
But we will continue to monitor and evaluate where people are out on that list, how many people are emerging who want to remain at home. Because in the past, everybody would go into residential aged care. But now occupancy rates for residential aged care is at about 92 per cent.
So there's capacity within residential aged care, more providers will come online because we do have an ageing population and governments will continue to provide opportunities for senior Australians. But by re-enablement, then it means somebody like Daisy, won't need a package.
She will need interventions and support, but the idea is, as we used to in the past, if we think about this historically, our mothers and fathers or our grandparents used to live with us and we would look after them.
We changed now, we rely on somebody else looking after our senior family members. And that's fine. But we've got to have the right services for that.
Question: And this is my last question on the packages. Do you know where they will be allocated?
Ken Wyatt: Look, I had an analysis done by the department. I have a sense of where Level 4’s, 3’s, 2’s and 1’s are distributed geographically across the nation.
The assessments are done by ACAT assessors or [indistinct] within rural regions. And then people's names are forwarded for placement on the list.
Historically, in the past if you were given a package, you’d go to one or two aged care providers, be listed and then you'd have to wait for them to call you.
This way we get a sense now of how many senior Australians there are who are in need of some form of intervention.
Question: It's not just a one-off intervention, it is ongoing, is it?
Ken Wyatt: Yes. It's always ongoing. You don't start something to stop it. The only time it ceases is when we lose that family member and then it ceases in terms of the level of support and services.
But Aspire for Life along with many other groups out there working very closely with senior Australians and they're making a difference on the ground.
But what I like about their ethos is ensuring that that people are mobile, agile and have support on the basis they’ve got a new [indistinct]… Aspire for Life will have a staff member come and visit somebody like Audrey and they have a conversation.
They get a sense of what’s needed and then they work with [each individual.
Question: You’re obviously happy in your own home. Is that part of the reason stay at home?
Daisy: I love my home. All my memories are here with my children and my husband. There’s no way that I’m going to leave that.
Question: What does it mean for you to be able to stay in your home?
Daisy: Everything. Life wouldn’t be the same for me. I see what they’re doing in other places and it breaks my heart.
Seen people sitting in a chair and not getting any care. Calling out for help and nobody going to them. All they have to do is get a member of their family that loves them.
Ken Wyatt: And the point that Daisy makes is all of this – they love the smell of their own homes, there are memories around it, the cakes your Mum used to make or the food you’d eat when you came home and you walk in the front door and you think wow Mum’s cooking. …. Love about our homes.
We’re familiar with them, we know where all the little nooks and crannies are. We know it is living life to the full.
Daisy. That’s right. Everything’s familiar. Everything you said. And I take my hat off to you but I haven’t got one on.
Ken Wyatt: You have in the gallery there; we should’ve brought some out.
Daisy: I’ve got plenty.