Elderly Homeless Men and Women: Aged Care's Forgotten People

Abstract In spite of Australia having an aged-care system that provides a wide range of residential and community-based, aged-care services to elderly men and women, which are appropriately monitored and audited, homeless people have historically found it difficult or impossible to access those services. It remains an appalling blight on the aged-care industry in general, and the social work profession in particular, that this apparent selective exclusion of the most vulnerable of elderly people should continue with little or no comment, criticism, or action. This is a policy commentary rather than an academic research paper, and aims to alert readers to the plight of elderly homeless people. The paper provides some insight into the life of an elderly homeless person, it describes the interaction between elderly homeless people and the Aged Care System; discusses services provided by Wintringham, a welfare company specialising in providing aged-care and housing services to aged homeless people; and explores some of the policy responses suggested by Wintringham.