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Meeting the needs of older Australians in South West Sydney.



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THE HON JUSTINE ELLIOT MP

Minister for Ageing

DARYL MELHAM MP

Member for Banks

MEDIA RELEASE

20 July 2009

Meeting the Needs of Older Australians in South West Sydney

Aged care services in Sydney will be enhanced following the announcement of more residential and care places in the electorates of Banks and Blaxland.

Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot and Member for Banks Daryl Melham today spoke to local community organisations about how the Rudd Government is working hard to meet the challenges of an ageing population.

The latest Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) saw an additional 140 residential aged care places and 56 community care places to the electorates of Blaxland and Banks.

Minister Elliot discussed the allocation of additional aged care places at a community aged care roundtable hosted by Mr Melham in Revesby this morning.

These new places have been made available under the latest Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) which allocated 10,447 new aged care places worth more than $347 million a year to help care for frail older Australians.

Minister Elliot said: “As the service demands of older Australians change, so too must the mix of services provided through Australian Government funding.

“Older Australians have told the Government that they wish to remain independent, in their own homes and in their communities. Community care services help many people stay at home instead of moving prematurely into a residential aged care facility.

“Not everyone will need a residential facility but if they do older Australians want to be able to access a high quality and affordable nursing home that meets their care needs.

“The Rudd Government is committed to providing the type of care that people need, when they need it and in the form that they prefer,” Minister Elliot said.

Last financial year the Rudd Government provided more than $111 million for aged and community care services in electorates of Banks and Blaxland.

Mr Melham said: “Our community like many other parts of the country has an ageing population.

“More than 15 per cent of the community is aged over 65 years which is higher than the national average.

“We are responding to the challenges that this creates for our community by providing more aged care services including nursing home beds and community care packages so that older people in our community have their care needs met,” Mr Melham said.

In the electorates of Banks and Blaxland an additional 196 new aged care services have been allocated, including 140 residential places (of which 108 are high care places and 32 are low care places) 50 Community Aged Care Packages and six Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia packages.

The Australian Government provides three levels of community care packages:

• Community Aged Care Packages that provide support services for older people with care needs living at home. They are designed as an alternative to low care residential aged care.

• Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages which deliver care in people’s own homes as an alternative to high care residential aged care, including the provision of nursing care; and

• Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) packages for people who experience behaviours of concern and psychological symptoms associated with dementia.

This brings the total number of aged care places in the electorates of Banks and Blaxland to over 3,500.

“The boost to community care is directed at nursing, personal care support and providing assistance to people with dementia” Minister Elliot said.

The new community care places are in addition to the Home and Community Care (HACC) services provided to elderly and disabled people through the $1.2 billion the Australian Government will provide to the states and territories for 2009-10. Last year this program assisted more than 830,000 Australians - more than 220,000 of these in NSW.

Over the next four years, the Rudd Government will provide more than $44 billion in funding for aged care services, more than $2.5 billion above the previous projections for aged and community care.

Minister Elliot said: “No Australian Government has provided more financial support to aged and community care than the Rudd Government.

Additional information on the 2008-2009 Aged Care Approvals Round is available at http://www.health.gov.au/acar2008-2009

For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280