Call for submissions to Royal Commission

Closing soon! Royal Commission into Aged Care is calling for submissions from the public into the Terms of Reference.  Submissions close Tuesday 25 September and you can have your say by completing an online form here

Extracts from our submission are below:

We support policy directives to allow people to age in place and remain at home as long as possible. The current aged care system assumes that people have secure and affordable housing as they age, and as the latest Census data shows, this is increasingly not the case.

We are concerned about the difficulty in delivering in-home aged care services to the increasing numbers of older people in insecure housing, including people at risk of homelessness in private rental, rooming housings, couch surfing, in overcrowded dwellings and other temporary housing.

We are concerned about the difficulty in navigating the service system, and the lack of service coordination that prevents early intervention for people at risk of homelessness.

We are concerned at people being prematurely admitted into residential care due to a lack of housing options.

We strongly urge that retirement housing, including retirement villages, residential parks and land lease communities, be included in the Commission’s Terms of Reference.

Many retirement housing providers are now delivering in-home aged care packages to their residents, which has raised concerns about consumer choice, complex contracts and quality.

Some retirement housing operators have also transitioned entire retirement housing communities to aged care facilities without the consent of existing residents.

Other key areas of concern that should be considered in detail by the Royal Commission in relation to retirement housing include:

  • Excessive and unfair fees, particularly exit fees;
  • Inadequate access to justice, including external dispute resolution;
  • Lack of mandatory minimum training and accreditation standards;
  • Unfair contract terms and complexity of contracts; and • The adequacy of retirement housing regulation.

Comments

Safe, secure, affordable and suitable housing for Older Australians at risk of homelessness must be included in the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into the aged care industry.

Where is the provision for older people who are renting to age in place? There is an alarming increase in homelessness particularly for older women. Are there adequate aged care facilities to home them? Is this level of care appropriate for those of them who are still of able body and mind?

Many contracts for aged housing include a fixed annual rent increase which is often more than CPI and pension increases. This needs be changed so that elderly people are not forced out of their homes because they cannot afford the rent increases.

These fees are ludicrous. Victoria is the only State that charges this fee. Persons having to sell and leave their village because of ill health or other personal reasons end up with less than the amount paid for the units in the first place. We were advised by our local member Neale Burgess that a request to abolish these fees was submitted to Parliament last December. Havealso been advised these have been supported by the lower house so when are they going to be discussed and passed in the Upper house?

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