With the Aged Care Royal Commission currently underway, aged care workers across Australia are being scrutinised in the media now more than ever. But is this increased suspicion and focus on our aged care workers really warranted or even fair?
With more than 366,000 hard working men and women employed across Australia to care for our aging population, there are proportionately very few reports of elder abuse and neglect. Of course, any incident of abuse or neglect is disgraceful and unacceptable, but with the Productivity Commission forecasting that Australia will need almost one million aged care workers by 2050 to meet growing demand, maybe now is the time to explore how we can implement improvements in the sector, rather than focusing on media reporting of a few “bad eggs”.
Aged care workers provide an essential service. They work busy shifts with constantly competing and conflicting priorities and for comparatively lower salaries. These people ensure the comfort and safety of our most vulnerable members of society. Their rosters are often irregular and they need to work quickly with tight schedules and under difficult conditions. These are the people who reassure grandpa in the middle of the night when he’s decided he’s late for work and needs to catch the bus. These are the people who help grandma to dry between her toes after her morning shower each day. They support residents to engage in social activities, they change continence aids, wipe chins after meals, brush false teeth, sing and dance with residents as well as providing comfort care during palliation.
Aged care workers are the unsung heroes in our society. Their efforts mean that we can have respite from caring for our loved ones. Their efforts allow us to work, to earn money to support our families and they also give us peace of mind that our loved ones are being cared for.
So, try not to let a few “bad eggs” highlighted by the media distort your views of the aged care workforce. Let’s see what the Aged Care Royal Commission can recommend in order to improve the industry and hope that they recognise that these workers need more support, not more scrutiny. More of these wonderful people need to be employed and the government must recognise the need for mandatory minimum staffing ratios – for everybody’s sake.
Many of our clients have told us that they delay making plans to enter aged care because of fear surrounding the recent media ‘horror stories’. Waiting to make these plans often results in emergency placements, so please talk to an aged care consultant before you are ready to make the move and we can provide guidance and unbiased advice to help you make informed decisions.
Your Aged Care Companions is staffed by Accredited Aged Care Professionals providing respite and permanent placement solutions. Call us today on 8332 8409 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org