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“Home is the basis on which we all build our lives.”

Community, belonging and security are at the heart of ‘home’ for older Australians according to a newly released report.

The importance of home for older Australians has been highlighted in the 2017 State of the Family Report, ‘The Meaning of Home’ by Anglicare Australia (Source: Shutterstock)
The importance of home for older Australians has been highlighted in the 2017 State of the Family Report, ‘The Meaning of Home’ by Anglicare Australia (Source: Shutterstock)

The 2017 State of the Family Report, ‘The Meaning of Home’ by Anglicare Australia explores the experiences of people on what home is as well as what it means to them and has revealed that a sense of home when they transition into residential aged care is just as important as the clinical care they receive.

Aged care provider Benetas was involved in and contributed to the report, detailing how the organisation’s new approach to aged care is purposely designed as a home first, in an essay - ‘Feeling at home when you can’t live at home anymore’.

Benetas Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sandra Hills says the organisation has deliberately moved away from traditional, institutional approaches to care in order to facilitate a better experience of ageing for older people.

“Older people have a right to a sense of belonging and a feeling of security as they age, and this shouldn’t be compromised just because they have entered residential aged care,” Ms Hills says.

“We understand that the transition to residential aged care might not be an easy one for older people and their loved ones, and we’re committed to ensuring older people feel respected and heard throughout the process.

“Our new approach to aged care is part of placing the older person at the heart of everything we do, and this has then gone on to inform how our systems and processes interact, and how we understand the role of the built form.”

Dr Catherine Joyce, Benetas Research and Innovation Manager wrote the essay for the report  and agreed with Ms Hills and also highlighted the need for providers to prioritise resident wellbeing.

“Creating a sense of home within settings such as residential aged care is inherently challenging, but providers must embrace this as we support increasing consumer choice and control,” Dr Joyce says.

Anglicare Australia Director Kasy Chambers says people seeking help needing unconditional support to rebuild their lives is among the main findings of the report and were at the heart of the key recommendations.

“Home should be a space we can make our own… it’s our place to belong… everyone needs to - and should have - a home,” she says.

“This report explores the experiences of people who use Anglicare services - we’ve also surveyed hundreds of Australians on what home means to them.

“Their stories show that home is about more than having a roof over our heads - it’s about community, belonging, and security.

“Home is the basis on which we all build our lives.”

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