Submission to Future reform – an integrated care at home program to support older Australians

by Rod Campbell

The Australia Institute made a submission to the discussion paper on Future reform – an integrated care at home program to support older Australians.

The discussion paper includes no consideration of shared living programs. This is a serious oversight given the paper’s emphasis on reform and innovation in care-at-home services.

The main shared living programs relating to aged (and disability) care in Australia are Homeshare programs. Homeshare brings together older people, or people with a disability, who live alone in their own homes with responsible people to live with them. It provides company and security for the householder and affordable accommodation for the ‘homesharer’. The householder provides a place for the homesharer to live, while the homesharer provides around 10 hours of practical assistance per week, such as cooking, cleaning and shopping.

Homeshare programs have been operating in Australia for 17 years. Programs are currently running in Victoria and the ACT, with considerable interest in other states.

Homeshare has generally been block funded and the current transition to MyAgedCare is posing a serious challenge to these programs as they do not easily fit into ‘line-item’ type service lists. Without Commonwealth recognition of Homeshare and integration into MyAgedCare, existing homeshare programs are at risk of closing and the opportunity to expand Homeshare will be lost.

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