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The reality we don't want to face about ageing

Published: 7 April 2020

Christine Craik appears in the Herald Sun discussing aged care:

Christine Craik is the National President of the Australian Association of Social Workers and a lecturer at RMIT University. She says aged care is based on a medical model, in which a person's health dictates their outcome, but that she would like to see it reimagined to focus on an empowerment model.

"There's a big presumption in our society that once people get older, they move into residential care. That's not the case. The majority live at home with community support," she says.

"There's also a presumption of physical and mental disability. There can be some decline, of course, but not everyone has those issues. Our current model assumes that people will be frail and incapable of making decisions - that's been our overarching model of care. I see that being challenged now."

Ms Craik says that while most people take a paternalistic attitude to aged care, it really needs to be approached in partnership with an older person. More than that, it needs to be planned in advance.

"Families often shy away from having conversations, but then there will be an incident and a decision will need to be made quickly. That's where you run into trouble. There might not be a vacancy in residential care, or it might not be the right fit for a person, there's a lot of grief and guilt around that."

Read the original article in the Herald Sun.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers