Speaking yesterday, Ken Wyatt said all Australians, regardless of background or orientation, should “have access to safe, quality, affordable and flexible aged care”.
He said that was the goal of the newly launched Aged Care Diversity Framework.
“Our focus is customer engagement through personalisation of services – not for the majority of seniors in our diverse communities – but for everyone,” Mr Wyatt said.
“So it is essential that the diversity of race, religion, spirituality, language, sexuality, gender, economic status and personal experience across the broader population is also reflected in the aged care provision for senior Australians.”
Noting that Australia is home to more than 100,000 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander seniors and that more than one in 10 older people are LGBTQI, while 36 per cent of senior Australians were born overseas, Mr Wyatt said an inclusive system “embraces diversity in all its forms”.
He said all Australians have a role to play in delivering such a system.
The framework was developed with engagement with homeless, Indigenous, LGBTQI, culturally and linguistically diverse people, members of the stolen generations and people who grew up, or spent time in care as children.
Reflecting on this, Mr Wyatt said, “In recent years, as the aged care sector has matured and moved towards customer-directed care, more thought has gone into the specific care needs of individuals.
“The framework focuses on assisting providers, peak organisations and governments to acknowledge an individual’s diverse characteristics and life experiences.”
He said the six priorities of the framework include:
1. Making informed choices
2. Adopting systemic approaches to planning and implementation
3. Accessible care and support
4. Supporting a proactive and flexible system
5. Respectful and inclusive services
6. Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable
The framework also features three action plans that will “keep us on track”.
“There are also options for other action plans, to address new priorities, as they are identified. That’s because this new Aged Care Sector Diversity Framework is a living document,” the minister continued.
“It’s important that we regularly revisit the framework – so we can see what’s working and what’s not, and continue to refine our approach. It will also be used to help develop future policy and implement programs for the benefit of seniors with diverse backgrounds and life experiences as they age.”