MEDIA RELEASE: Older People have Rights Too

A human rights approach to ageing is critical to ensure the best opportunities for older Australians, COTA Australia said today in welcoming the Human Rights Commission’s paper, Respect and Choice: A human rights approach for ageing and health.

Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA Australia, said that the Federal Government’s recently announced aged care  reform package Living Longer Living Better didn’t go far enough in giving people a right to quality aged care.

“Older people have a right to quality care, choice and respect as the age,” Mr Yates said.

“What many people don’t know is if you need aged care services today you may not get them. It’s not like  Medicare where if you get sick you can be guaranteed health care.

“Aged care services are based on an arbitrary rationing system. Currently the first 113 of every 1000 people  over the age of 70 get the care and services they need.

“While the Federal Government’s reform package will increase this to 125 over ten years that still means that  many older people will miss out on appropriate support and care.

“This is one key element of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations which was not adopted in the Living Longer Living Better package.

“An end to rationing will ensure older people, regardless of where they live, have a right to access the care  they need delivered by a provider of their choice when they need it.

Mr Yates said a second key recommendation from the Productivity Commission’s report was that older people  should be directly given an allocation of funds for support and care, which they can use with whichever  provider they prefer, when and where best suits them.

“The reforms went part of the way with aged care packages to be converted entirely to “Consumer Directed  Care” or CDC, but current guidelines for CDC are far too weak.

“The government must strengthen CDC rules in line with the rights based approach to aged care, so that the  people who need the care can control it.

“A human rights approach to aged care will ensure that everyone can enjoy the highest attainable standard of  physical and mental health, and that’s the Australia we should all wish to live in.

“We commend the Age Discrimination Commissioner for taking this on. ”

Media contact:Ian Yates 0418835439, Anastasia Stomo 0432243389