Aged care's sad decline at great human cost

Aged-care homes have been defined as "God's waiting room".

It is no surprise given 68% of Australians who have succumbed to COVID-19 were aged-care residents.

It is a statistic which repeated royal commissions and official enquiries have failed to adequately address.

To be in aged care is almost a death sentence for those whose families have no alternative but to place their elderly in care.

But "care " is a word loosely used to describe supervision, while the ratio is often one "carer" to 10 or 20 "clients".

It is profit before people. No government or privately owned aged-care home willingly reduces the client-carer ratio.

Rising costs across the board have affected the bottom line of every business, especially when clients have no alternative and no voice.

In this age of pandemic hysteria, the aged locked away from families and friends for the duration are left wondering about their fate.

Many traditional families have their elderly living within their homes, providing for generational interchange and assistance.

In the third millennium, however, family dynamics and structures have radically changed.

Those considered past their use by date are sent away for strangers to care for.

This dilemma is exacerbated by patients with dementia, who are often confused or difficult to manage.

Time constraints and the tyranny of distance may mean they exist alone.

It is the new "normal", but comes at a great human cost.

E Rowe, Marcoola



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