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Aged care alternative could relieve pressure

The ailing aged care system would receive a boost if self-funded retirees were encouraged to fund their own care in older age, according to a Queensland based provider of supported living communities.

Responding to Deloitte and Aged Care Association Australia’s joint submission to the Productivity Commission’s aged care inquiry, Tall Trees said its ‘all care’ model could reduce the pressure on the publicly funded system.

The group’s director, Phil Usher, said the supported living model allows seniors to move into and remain in the same home while receiving varying levels of care depending on their needs.

“Our model is designed for people who want customisation, who want things their way and who can afford to pay for it,” he said.

“That will take the burden off our current system which is struggling at the moment. It’s not the way that people want to receive care and our message is that it doesn’t have to be like that.”

Under the supported living model, care is provided onsite on a user pay basis and profits are generated through deferred management fees.

Mr Usher believes that in future, older consumers will choose to remain in their own homes longer, “skipping” the retirement village phase and then choosing to enter supported living or a residential aged care facility as their care needs increase.

“My view of the world is that there are people who have genuine hardship and the government has to do something to look after them,” he said.

“Then you have the people who don’t have genuine hardship, who are self funded or partially self funded, and I think increasingly, the  baby boomers will be proud of the fact they are able to be self sufficient in their retirement years.

“The way I see it, if we can let people know there is an alternative out there, then we should be stimulating people to use that. That means that the money in the existing government system can be freed up for the people who genuinely need it.”

Mr Usher said older consumers and their families are happy with the new model but it is still being overlooked by referring health professionals.

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