Like so many older Australians, Warrnambool resident Gloria feared declining health meant an inevitable move into aged care, and hadn’t heard of a HCP before she secured one.
Luckily, the local council referred Gloria Smith and her partner of 29 years, Wallace McDonald, to non-profit organisation Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH), which has supported them both with a HCP for more than a year.
“I didn’t realise there was so much help available, we were amazed,” Gloria says. “It’s been marvellous.”
VMCH Case Manager Belinda Smith organises support for the couple with gardening, cleaning, home maintenance, personal alarms, Meals on Wheels and mobility aids to help them remain living independently at home.
“Belinda is wonderful, I love her,” Gloria says. “Without all this help I think we’d be putting our name on a list for a supported type of unit or nursing home or something.”
Gloria and Wallace are among almost 92,000 Australians receiving HCPs. Despite the recent release of new packages, there are still over 126,000 people across Australia waiting for a HCP at the appropriate level.
Belinda says the pair’s initial unfamiliarity with HCPs was common, which unfortunately meant many older people were entering aged care before it was necessary.
“It is a very familiar theme across all the regions I cover, which is disappointing because there are so many people who could be getting support who don’t even know it exists,” she says.
Gloria says she helps “spread the word” about HCPs whenever she can. “It’s been just wonderful. People can’t get over it when I tell them the support we get.”
The Government’s additional 5,000 Level Three and 5,000 Level Four packages will be allocated by 30 June 2019, providing funding for up to $50,000 of care services per person per year including nursing, home assistance, nutrition and meal preparation and transport support.
Looking for more information on home care or providers in your area? Check out Aged Care Guide’s resources here.