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Analysis and Comment (28)

Psychotropic drugs are often used to control the behaviour of people with dementia in aged care. Psychotropic drugs are often used to control the behaviour of people with dementia in aged care. Harry/Flickr

Antipsychotic drugs harm older people, let’s reduce their use

Psychotropic drugs are being over-used in Australian aged-care facilities to chemically restrain residents, according to both researchers and several government reports. But despite all this attention…
We need to see old age as success and value older people as expressions of this accomplishment. We need to see old age as success and value older people as expressions of this accomplishment. Vinoth Chandar

An age-old problem: society fails to truly embrace its seniors

Cockroaches in the kitchen, kerosene in the bath, abuse and malnutrition - these are the aged-care stories that often make headlines. We, the public, respond with outrage and calls for more staff and more…
Caring is part of everyday life; it taps into our vulnerabilities and allows us to turn possibilities into material outcomes. Caring is part of everyday life; it taps into our vulnerabilities and allows us to turn possibilities into material outcomes. Image from shutterstock.com

Election 2013 Issues: How we grow and care for each other

Welcome to the The Conversation’s Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as…
Older people living with younger family members is increasingly popular, but there can be associated legal issues if the relationship breaks down. Older people living with younger family members is increasingly popular, but there can be associated legal issues if the relationship breaks down. Shutterstock

Close to home: financial hazards for older people in family accommodation

Last year, having recently lost her life partner, 78-year old Miriam* was advised by her children that the family home was now “too big” for her to live in. She sold her property and moved into the home…
The new funding arrangement presumes that older people know what help they need to live in their own home for as long as possible. The new funding arrangement presumes that older people know what help they need to live in their own home for as long as possible. Vinoth Chandar

Older citizens need information to be good aged-care customers

Community-care packages have traditionally been case-managed packages of services for older people requiring residential care but wanting to stay in their home. Since July 1, all new community-care packages…
How to deal with our demographic future of an ageing population? One was is the status quo - hike taxes - but the other requires the courage to grapple funding to health and the elderly. How to deal with our demographic future of an ageing population? One was is the status quo - hike taxes - but the other requires the courage to grapple funding to health and the elderly. AAP

Australia’s choice: keep hiking taxes, or grapple with our spending on health and the aged

More than a decade ago the federal treasury produced the first Intergenerational Report (IGR), warning of the challenges facing the Australian economy due to demographic change. The IGR warned that the…
Ageing couple Gorges and Ann Laurant (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) negotiate illness and death in Amour. Ageing couple Gorges and Ann Laurant (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) negotiate illness and death in Amour. EPA Claudio Onorati

The thorny issue of home care in Michael Haneke’s Amour

During our lifetime, we face a series of developmental tasks that are universal to the human condition. The last of these stages comes in our final years, when we face our mortality, reflect back upon…
The children with the greatest level of disease also have the poorest access to care. The children with the greatest level of disease also have the poorest access to care. Image from shutterstock.com

Filling the gaps in Australia’s dental workforce

Data released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show the number of dentists has increased by 24% in the five years to 2011. There are now around 12,700 dentists in Australia, with…
How will the NDIS support life-long planning for Australians with disability as they grow older? How will the NDIS support life-long planning for Australians with disability as they grow older? Image from shutterstock.com

NDIS for under 65s: ageism or a battle over priorities?

Last week’s protest by several quadriplegic Queenslanders against age discrimination prompts us to examine how the National Disability Insurance Scheme should balance needs-based eligibility and entitlement…
Community attitudes towards the health system have improved significantly over the last four years. Community attitudes towards the health system have improved significantly over the last four years. Sarah Reid

Australians give an upbeat diagnosis of health system

More than half of the Australian population believe they’re in very good to excellent health, have a high level of confidence in the health system and support the policy direction that the federal government’s…
Depression isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. Depression isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. Elderly man image from Shutterstock.com

Why it’s time to properly diagnose and treat depression in aged care

As the baby boomers approach older age, the number of Australians aged over 65 is projected to rise from around 14% to 24% by 2056. Given that not even a massive influx of immigrants would reverse this…
Aged-care residents are among the most vulnerable in our society, with many reliant on pensions. Aged-care residents are among the most vulnerable in our society, with many reliant on pensions. Kariobinja/Flickr

It’s complicated: why aged-care funding is still a problem

Recent media reports have highlighted an anomaly in residential aged-care funding in Australia: that day-to-day operations of facilities are governed by both Commonwealth and state government policies…
Up to 60% of nursing home residents are on psychiatric drugs and around 30% are on powerful anti-psychotics. Ulrich Joho. Up to 60% of nursing home residents are on psychiatric drugs and around 30% are on powerful anti-psychotics. Ulrich Joho.

Chemical restraint in aged-care homes linked to early death

Last night ABC’s Lateline discussed the case of 63-year-old John Burns, who died within 12 days of going into residential aged care. Burns was put into care after he started to display disinhibited sexual…
Young people in nursing homes aren’t free to eat, socialise and go out when they like. Young people in nursing homes aren’t free to eat, socialise and go out when they like. morberg

Young people in nursing homes denied basic human rights

Research published this week confirms what disability advocates have long known: that young people shouldn’t be forced to live in nursing homes. Our joint Summer Foundation and Monash University study…
The intensity of individual requirements for assistance will increase in the future. The intensity of individual requirements for assistance will increase in the future. Emiliano/Flickr

Australian census: big Australia or small, we’re getting older – and the elderly need help

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the first batch of its 2011 census data yesterday. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the…
We need to set the foundations now for a healthy future of aged care nursing. We need to set the foundations now for a healthy future of aged care nursing. KarleQuin

Who’ll care for us in old age? It’s time to get the nursing workforce into shape

Life expectancy in Australia is at an all-time high: pre-school-aged girls can expect to live to 84 years, around five years longer than their healthy brothers. By 2041, the 65-plus age group is expected…
Post-budget analysis has largely ignored the government’s achievements in aged care reform. Post-budget analysis has largely ignored the government’s achievements in aged care reform. Ernst Vikne

Navigating Australia’s bumpy road to aged care reform

Much of the budget analysis over the past week has concentrated on the shuffling of expenditure for 2012-13 back to this financial year in order to achieve a surplus. It’s true that $17.6bn of such transfers…
More than 600 young Australians with disabilities currently live in nursing homes. More than 600 young Australians with disabilities currently live in nursing homes.

It’s time to get young people out of nursing homes

Michelle Newland was 19 years old when she had a severe asthma attack that left her with hypoxic brain injury. After eight weeks, the hospital staff told Michelle’s parents that she was not suitable for…
A fairer and more sustainable system is being proposed. A fairer and more sustainable system is being proposed. flickr/louisa_catlover

Moving in the right direction for better aged care

The Government’s aged care reforms are a landmark for setting valuable directions for better care. It’s the first such major initiative in more than 25 years – but there’s a long and uncertain road ahead…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Aged Care Mark Butler today unveiled a $3.7 bn aged care package. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Aged Care Mark Butler today unveiled a $3.7 bn aged care package. AAP

Aged care reform: experts respond

The Commonwealth government today announced a $3.7 bn package of reforms to give older Australians “more choice, easier access and better care” in their later years. The Living Longer Living Better plan…
We need to rethink our aged care workforce and funding for dementia patients. We need to rethink our aged care workforce and funding for dementia patients. Alex E Proimos

Improving care for dementia patients in our ailing aged care system

Last week, Alzheimer’s Australia released a report that was highly critical of the way Australia’s aged care sector responds to the needs of dementia suffers and their families. It’s an issue that demands…
Ageism is pervasive on our television screens. Ageism is pervasive on our television screens. TheBmag

Get real – there’s more to ageing than what you see on TV

Most of us have no direct experience of psychiatry or severe mental illness. So our attitudes and experiences are shaped by what we are exposed to: mass media portrayals. Reality rarely makes good drama…
Chemicals are present in the brain a decade or so before symptoms occur. Chemicals are present in the brain a decade or so before symptoms occur. Rosie O Beirne

Alzheimer’s could be diagnosed and treated before symptoms occur

Dementia is among the largest cause of disability in Australians aged over 65 and affects memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for…
Older people are finally being consulted about the type of care they need. Older people are finally being consulted about the type of care they need. EPA/Diego Azubel

Ask the elderly what they need, not the care industry

Australia’s population is ageing, presenting an economic challenge to look after the most vulnerable members of our society. The Productivity Commission released a report last month recommending a complete…
Every year outbreaks of influenza in aged-care facilities create major disruption. Every year outbreaks of influenza in aged-care facilities create major disruption. Alyssa L. Miller

Protecting our elderly: beating flu outbreaks in nursing homes

Flu outbreaks in nursing homes can lead to pneumonia, stroke and heart attacks among elderly residents. Staff are a major potential source of infection, but only around one in five get an annual flu shot…
Broadband-enabled technologies can ensure a more comfortable ageing process. Broadband-enabled technologies can ensure a more comfortable ageing process. sparktography

If I had a blank cheque I’d … reform Australia’s aged care system

Welcome to If I had a blank cheque … a series in which leading researchers reveal what they could (and would) do in their discipline if money were no object. Today we hear from Dr Kate Cornick, Executive…
The Gillard government can expect resistance to implementing the report’s recommendations. The Gillard government can expect resistance to implementing the report’s recommendations. AAP

What the Caring for Older Australians report means for the future of aged care

What is the most remarkable aspect of this report? The Productivity Commission is proposing an important set of reforms with its Caring for Older Australians Report. These reforms chart a way to cut through…

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