Organisations supporting LGBTI seniors should join with Alzheimer’s Australia and other consumer peaks in the push for trials of individualised funding, initially in the area of respite care.
Speaking at the inaugural LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference in Melbourne yesterday, outgoing CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia Glenn Rees said that older people should have choice around funding similar to the model being implemented in the NDIS.
A trial would enable individualised funding to be rolled out in a gradual way, limiting the opportunities for mistakes in implementation, he told the conference.
Mr Rees said he suggested the trial begin in respite care as it provided a break for family carers of people living with dementia, while providing an opportunity for social engagement to the care recipient. Furthermore, with two in five carers currently not accessing respite care despite it being provided by government, the service was clearly dysfunctional.
A trial of individualised funding would provide new insight into what respite services people wanted delivered, how they were delivered and by whom, he said.
“We put a proposition to government for an evaluation and trial of respite involving cashing out… It would be wonderful if LGBTI organisations in their revolutionary mode supported that.”
Mr Rees also called on LGBTI organisations to “look for the revolution in transparency in the way mainstream services are delivered” as everyone would benefit from better information in residential aged care, brought about by mechanisms such as quality indicators and resident surveys.
Elsewhere he told the conference that consumer directed care was the feature of the current aged care reforms that LGBTI organisations should care about most: “CDC matters. Learn from the disability sector. Be more radical, push CDC to the limit,” he said.
On Monday Alzheimer’s Australia announced Mr Rees was stepping down as CEO, after 15 years in the role. During his tenure Mr Rees helped to deliver the Dementia Initiative in 2005, the commitments to quality dementia care in the 2012 aged care reforms, and an additional $200 million for dementia research in the 2014 Federal Budget.
Mr Rees has been appointed chair of Alzheimer’s Disease International and said he will continue his work as a consumer advocate.
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