Some of Western Australia’s most prominent seniors groups and aged care associations have formed an alliance to lobby government on behalf of the state’s older citizens.
The new Seniors’ Alliance will focus on planning and funding decisions that affect seniors in WA.
The group’s chairman, Ken Marston, who is also the CEO of COTA WA, is particularly concerned about the shortage of aged care beds in the West.
“We are aware that licences have been going back to the federal government and people aren’t taking up new bed licences,” he said. “There is going to be an acute shortage of aged care beds in the future.
“That will put pressure on the whole aged care system. People will remain in the community with very high needs putting pressure on community care services.
“Some will be stuck in hospitals where they will receive inappropriate and costly care. While others will be reliant on their carers who can’t always meet the needs of people with high care needs.”
Mr Marston said that politicians need to respond to the “demographic imperative”.
“We have an ageing population and in many ways that’s good a good thing,” he said. “In most families, we now have four generations alive at the same time for the first time in human history.
“But there are also issues around funding for services that people will need and the appropriateness of the services that are available.”
The alliance will comment on policies for seniors and identify important issues to bring to the attention of key decision makers.
Mr Marston said the alliance was planning for the long term.
“Looking at the demography, the fact is that the population will continue to age for a lot of years to come and we will be there for that,” he said. “It’s always necessary to advocate on behalf of seniors.”