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April 20, 2012

PM to Push Home Care for the Elderly (AUSTRALIA)

By Michelle Grattan
April 20, 2012

TODAY'S federal government aged care blueprint will provide $268.4 million over five years for dementia, with a new supplement giving financial help to people receiving home care packages and residential care.
The supplement will add $1341 to the assistance for an elderly full pensioner at home receiving a current government subsidy of $13,406 a year and making a co-contribution of $1800. It will cost $164.3 million of the dementia funds. But the dementia funding, which is not all new money, falls well short of the extra $500 million called for by Alzheimer's Australia this month.
With nearly 1 million Australians expected to have dementia by 2050, there will be more support for timely diagnosis and a stronger focus on those who get the disease at a young age.
The aged care plan, designed to keep more old people in their homes and ensure people are not forced into a fire sale of their house if they have to go into a nursing home, is a major plank in the government's reform agenda.
The package will swing the system towards users paying and promoting greater fairness by expanding means testing.
It is worth several billion dollars but is substantially funded by a rearrangement of existing money. The government has said it has not sought to make overall budget savings from aged care.
The government will promise a major increase in the number of home care packages, allowing tens of thousands more older people to remain at home while receiving care.

Abridged
SOURCE:     The Age, Au

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