Large numbers of elderly Australians are spending their final years alone, as tragic figures reveal two in five nursing home residents never receive visitors.
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said he is saddened by the figures, which he called a ‘disturbing trend’ in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra.
During his address on Wednesday Mr Wyatt called on Australians to reach out to the elderly and consider how they wish to be treated themselves in their old age.
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt (pictured) said he is saddened by figures showing 40 per cent of residents in aged car facilities do not receive any visitors
‘It saddens me immensely that up to 40 per cent of people in care, especially those with varying degrees of dementia, receive no visitors,’ he said.
‘We must all ask ourselves: “Do I want to be abandoned in my later years? Is this what my elders deserve? Is this how I want to live out my days?”
‘We must champion inclusion, and reach out to senior Australians. We must offer our hearts and our hands in love and respect.’
Mr Wyatt said dementia, a disease for which there is no cure, is now the second most common cause of death.
During his address on Wednesday Mr Wyatt called on Australians to reach out to the elderly and consider how they wish to be treated themselves in their old age (pictured is a stock image)
The number of people with dementia is set to hit 900,000 by 2050, and it affects over half of all permanent residents in government-funded aged care facilities.
During his address, Mr Wyatt emphasised the importance of family, which is reflected in a desire on the behalf of seniors to receive aged care services in their homes.
He made a plea for younger Australians to bear the loneliness of the elderly in mind.
‘For those of you listening, I want you to cast your mind to the last time you told your mother, father, husband, wife or partner that you still love them and if you can hug them,’ he said.
‘The essence of who we are is shaped by our culture, our heritage and our family.’
Mr Wyatt said the Government will spend more than $330billion for senior Australians over the next five years.
As people are living longer than ever, perhaps now is the time to come up with a new ‘third age’ Mr Wyatt said.
He suggested a ‘seniors gap year’ and said new ideas and solutions are needed to help the elderly transition from working life to retirement.
About 1.3million people accessed government-funded aged care the last financial year, including over 900,000 receiving home supports.
Almost 90,000 people accessed home care packages, close to 235,000 people lived in residential care homes and about 25,000 used other programs.
The Commonwealth Government has a budget commitment of $18.6billion for aged care funding this year.
During his address Mr Wyatt (pictured) emphasised the importance of family, which is reflected in a desire on the behalf of seniors to receive aged care services in their homes