Understanding Non-Government Support for Caring for the Elderly
Caring for the elderly can be a challenge, but we are not without help. There are several agencies, both public and private, that work to improve the experience of the aging individual. This article is going to overview some of the non-government supports that are available in particular.
What does non-government support look like?
While many are familiar with what a governmental support system looks like, non-government support is not as widely understood. As the name suggests, it applies to any organization not run by the government. But what does this look like?
Charities, community centres, and anything privately funded. These may be activity centres, advocacy agencies, or even councils and forums that work on the behalf of the elderly. These non-governmental services account for 20% of the cost of welfare services and support systems (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s Welfare 2001, p.38).
Another non-government resource for many of the elderly? Caregivers. That’s right, several individuals qualify as supports in and of themselves. Every one knows some one who is aging, and several individuals end up caring for aging parents, friends, or community members themselves. The links below demonstrate the critical importance of these carers within communities, to ensure they get the support they deserve.
- Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) – As the name suggests, this is an organisation that provides a series of services. It has been funded by the Commonwealth, and one of the key advantages of a CACP is that it is tailored specifically to the individual. As of the 2001-2002 calender year, over 26 000 CACPs were issued to the community.
- Extended Aged Care at Home Program Pilot (EACH) – This group is available as a support to those who are eligible for a high care residential facility, but who wish to remain in their homes. It offers a range of services, all aimed at keeping the individual safe and happy at home. EACH is still new however, and as of the 2001-2002 calender year there were 290 packages issued.
- Home and Community Care Program (HACC) – This program is funded by a combination of the Commonwealth and the States/Territories. It has been in operation for the last thirty years, and has become a trusted name in elderly support. In terms of the specific services it provides, HACC has several support services, including ones that offer health support, home help, meals on wheels programs, and more. As of the 2001-2002 calender year, the HACC Program provided services to 594 000 people.
Community services can step in to either assist caregivers, or (in some cases) to replace them when they cannot be there. The unfortunate reality is that not every child is able (or willing) to care for their aging parent, and not every elderly person has a family member still around.
This can present a unique set of challenges, particularly for those who aim to stay in their homes. Yet the idea of staying in the home can help an elderly person feel more comfortable, independent, and happy. This is where community caregiving organizations have stepped in, to ensure safety while maintaining independence as much as possible.
The following sections are a series of lists of resources available to the elderly and their supporters. Gaining awareness of these services can make the difference between being able to stay at home comfortably and being moved to a residential facility.
- Aged and Community Services Australia
- Australian Association of Gerontology
- Australia and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine
- Carers Australia
- Centre for Education and Research on Ageing
- Council on the Ageing (COTA) and links to State and Territory Councils on the Ageing
- National Aged Care Alliance
- National Ageing Research Institute
- National Seniors Association
- Universities of the Third Age
Commonwealth Government Resources
- Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) – Support for the Aged output group
- Department of Health and Ageing
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Seniors Portal
- My Aged Care
State-Specific Government Resources
Australian Capital Territory
- ACT Health Services for Older People
New South Wales
- Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care – Ageing Information
Seniors Information Service
- NSW Committee on Ageing
- Department of Health and Community Services – Aged Disability and Community Care
- Queensland Health – Aged and Community Care Reform Unit
- Department for Community Development – Office of Seniors Interests