As Australia’s population ages, we need to find creative solutions to care for those closest to us.
By 2056, the numbers of those aged 65 and over are predicted to more than double to 8.8million.
That is 22 per cent of the population who, out of necessity, will become more reliant on others to care for them.
That should not be an alarming thought — with careful planning it can become a liveable situation.
But we know we are happier and healthier when we age at home rather than in a nursing home and this can present problems for working families.
Finding the right balance between work, children, recreation and caring for our elderly loved ones is never going to be easy.
The Federal Government’s Home Care Package program is a welcome tool in the armoury of aged care, but it does have drawbacks.
It can be a cumbersome and daunting process to unravel the various funding features, it is not a well-known program, and there is a shortfall.
While the government has made 14000 new packages available, more than 100000 people are already on a waiting list to get one.
So while providers such as Community Interlink are keen to get the message out that people’s lives can be made easier with a home care package — if too many apply, then the system will quickly hit overload.
Nevertheless, any attempt to help people stay at home either with family or with loved ones nearby, must be a welcome move.
Shepparton-based Community Interlink network is aware of the lack of awareness and has made available a five-step guide on how to access a package.
The first of the five steps is making a phone call to My Aged Care on 1800200422.
We believe that as we age, access to information will become vital to ensure we have the best care available.
This is why we chose to highlight the Home Care Package program on our front page. For all its flaws, it is a worthwhile and immensely valuable program available for families struggling to cope with the demands of caring for elderly loved ones.
But first of all, we must know that it is available.
As with all things in life — knowledge is power.