Up to 40 per cent of aged care residents get no visitors, minister Ken Wyatt says
Up to 40 per cent of people in aged care homes never get visitors, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has told the National Press Club.
“It saddens me immensely,” Mr Wyatt said. He said it was a figure he had heard rather than a solid statistic, but Mr Wyatt said he was dismayed that older people were left on their own without family contact.
“Our love should not be conditional on a point in age, or because we drift away from those who once gave of themselves to care for us,” he said.
“I have heard that up to 40 per cent of people in residential aged care have no visitors 365 days of the year.”
Mr Wyatt said loneliness was one of the most disturbing trends he sees, and told the Press Club it was an issue for those with dementia in particular.
He urged all Australians to question how they would want to be treated.
“We must all ask ourselves: Do I want to be abandoned in my later years? Is this what my elders deserve? Is this how I want to live out my days?” he said.
He called for more love and respect for older people.
“When I talk to people in aged care, I find so many who crave simple touch, a hug, the warmth of palms clasped together, or a soothing hand on their shoulder,” he said.
Mr Wyatt used the speech at the National Press Club to announce plans to audit nursing homes without warning under a Commonwealth shake-up of the aged care industry.