SPH recently attended a CEDA aged care event in Perth called Shaping WA, Aged Care in a Consumer Centric Future and heard from the Minister for Aged Care The Honorable Ken Wyatt.
The Minister took the opportunity to remind the audience that every one of us remains a unique individual until the end of our lives. He challenged us to adapt our thinking, plan for an extended life journey, and reminded us of the words of Aretha Franklin in her famous song R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We also loved the title quote by Dr Hannah Seymour, another wonderful speaker at the event.

The opportunity is to make aging great again and to do this we all need to work together to reinforce the message that aging is a respected virtue and not a burden. We need to change our mindset, particularly the younger generations. Every young person will have to work harder to meet the needs of older Australians, but with this comes a growing industry with great opportunity. The Minister drew our attention to aged care as the next jobs boom, highlighting that in the future job creation in this industry will outstrip that of the WA mining sector. There is much work to do to make aged care attractive to young people… but it is happening.

It was very moving to hear his analogy about how as a society we embrace babies, how people love to hold and talk to them, to care for them. If only we could embrace our elderly in this same way. Loneliness is an epidemic amongst seniors and to combat this we must improve the connectedness of people in the community. We cannot underestimate the accumulated knowledge of the elders in our community, and we need to take more time for them, especially those living with dementia.

SPH also loved the Ministers suggestion of a “gap year” for 60-year-old employees to enable them to rejuvenate and revitalise themselves. This would look very similar to what we promote to younger generations and realised through a year leave without pay but with job security.

There were so many committed people and organisations in the room, engaged in this important topic and ready to respond and innovate. A special thank you to the University of Western Australia and Syrinx Environmental for hosting SPH. We would also like to say well done to Hesta for making vital data and insights available to assist the aged care industry.

Photo: @KenWyatt with SPH client Jenny Grieve from Hall & Prior Health and Aged Care