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Tips to help you live at home longer

New research from the Royal Commission into Aged Care has confirmed what many of us already knew. Most Australians want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, and receive care in their homes if that helps them to stay there.

The two reports were published on the Royal Commission website last month. The first involved research conducted by Roy Morgan from October 2019 to January 2020. Roy Morgan surveyed 10,000 people on their views of ageing and aged care. The second involved 35 focus groups and 30 in-depth interviews conducted by Ipsos. Participants were also asked about their attitudes to ageing and aged care.

The results of these two reports are not surprising. Our home is our castle, our sanctuary. We spend our working lives creating a place we want to spend time in. It therefore makes sense to focus aged care on supporting older Australians to remain in their own homes for as long as they wish to.

What kind of support services are available in our homes these days? Probably more than you first think. Many people’s initial experiences of aged care in the home involve a grandparent, a cleaner and the occasional meal delivery. And while cleaning services are still a very popular choice when it comes to help at home, the options really are limitless.

For a person who loves to cook, they may enjoy having someone help in the kitchen. Either preparing meals or working alongside them helping to create their masterpieces. Gardening services are also popular – for those who can no longer look after their own garden as well as those who would like some company while pulling up weeds and planting vegie seedlings.

Help at home can also include shopping, transport services, home maintenance, personal care and medication support. Specialist support such as nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy is also available. Equally as popular as cleaning are respite services – either in-home or out of the home. Out of the home respite can be at a day centre or in the form of a social support group. It can be for a few hours or a few days (including overnight).

Respite services have the dual benefit of providing companionship for the person while giving the family carer time to do other things, or simply have a break. That companionship can range anywhere from sitting quietly, listening to music or playing cards through to walking the dog, visiting a friend or going to the local shopping centre together. The key is understanding what the person would like to do and finding the right support to help them do it.

Government funding in the form of the Commonwealth Home Support Program or a home care package can help you to access these services. If you are living with dementia, Alzheimer’s WA can provide all these services and more. Receiving some help at home should not feel as if you are losing your independence, but rather you are receiving a little support to maintain your independence.

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