Aged Care is Evolving and Actually Getting Better
I recently watched a TEDx talk by
acclaimed international speaker, elder care
leader, writer and gerontologist Dan Levitt,
who discussed the changing trends within
the aged care industry and how people in
2019 are beginning to rethink ageing.
“The rising tide of dementia and other health
care problems is impairing the ability of many
Australian seniors to live independently. Our
baby boomers exhibit stronger preferences
for independent living arrangements, greater
autonomy, and choice in services than previous
generations,” said Dan.
The good news is the paradigm shift has
begun, as the culture within senior care living
communities fundamentally changes.
Residential-care facilities are no longer the
nursing homes of yesteryear, as innovations in
the care of the elderly have ushered in a new
era in which choice, purpose, and service are
When you think about the expectations
within an aged care facility now when
compared to only three decades ago, the
differences are nothing short of startling.
People simply demand more from their
aged care providers.
“Baby boomers expect residential living
environments to have a workforce highly
customer service oriented; engaging
programs and specialised services for
seniors with advanced dementia; values
that uphold health safety and dignity, and
space for couples who desire privacy for
intimate encounters, to name a few,” said
And while today’s current demands for an
aged care provider may seem as if they
should be a foregone conclusion for all
care providers, the reality of the situation
is that someone somewhere along the line
is going to have to pay for it.
“Society cannot build enough residential
care facilities and there is not enough
government funding available,” said Dan.
“An obvious truth that is either ignored
or going unaddressed is that all the
programs and services that baby boomers
will need is unsustainable given the
current delivery model. The big question
to answer is: who will pay for increased
costs to meet the increased demands?”
While the financial ramifications of
improved aged care raises many
questions, one look at aged care around
the globe is evidence enough that there is
no shortage of impressive and innovative
models of care that will slowly become the
next standard of quality for the industry.
And the central theme of all of these
innovations revolves around providing
elderly people with more choices that
allow them to live life their way and gives
them a sense of purpose.
“In Tokyo Japan, 10 centenarians (people
who are 100+ years old) with dementia
live together in a group home where
their daily choices include a minimum:
1,500 calories, 1.5 litres of their favourite
beverage, walking exercises, and
meaningful activities,” said Dan.
“In France, seniors move into nursing homes
with time to adjust to their new home before
Society has made longer lengths of stay an option for seniors requiring
residential care as well as capping the amount people pay. The result is that
seniors become accustomed to their environment.”
This push towards increasing independence and allowing elderly people
to dictate the rhythm and control of their own life has also found its way to
One of the greatest innovations currently making waves in aged care has
been the advent and use of the small household model of care.
This care model focuses on providing residents with individualised complex
nursing care in a comfortable and homely environment. While doing its best
to hide and phase out the institutional elements of the average nursing home
And Australia is proud to be one of the countries that are beginning to lead a
charge in this area.
“It takes the nursing-home industry as we know it and it flips it, creating a very
homelike residential model of care. There is no central nursing station and no
long corridors as those in a traditional nursing home. Each residence has a
multi-skilled versatile caregiver who provides personal care, prepares meals
and performs housekeeping for elders.
While it can be easy to look at all of the problems and negativity in aged care,
all it takes is one glance in the rear view mirror to realise how far things have
come and the actual direction in which we are heading.
And as long as we continue to have people like Dan Levitt who are willing to
dedicate their entire lives to the betterment and welfare of the elderly, things
should only continue to get better.
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