The Western Australian newspaper reports today that “massive cultural change is needed to stop Australia failing its old people,” according to “internationally renowned geriatrician” and Eden Alternative founder Dr. Bill Thomas.
Dr. Bill is in Perth, Australia this week working with Eden in Oz, the accredited branch of International Eden Alternative Down Under. His visit generated this coverage in The Western Australian:
Aged care needs ‘new approach’
ANGELA POWNALL, The West Australian
The Eden Alternative, which focuses on de-institutionalising aged care and making centres enlivened environments, has been adopted by 300 facilities worldwide, including four in WA.
Dr. Thomas argued that Australia had one of the best-resourced aged care systems and that public money needed to be better spent to stop elderly people being cutting off from society.
“We have a hangover of a medicalised vision of old age,” Dr Thomas said.
“In other words, we’re still walking around thinking old age is a medical problem. It’s not primarily a medical problem. It’s primarily a social circumstance. So as a result a lot of our systems are really descended from medical systems and they’re not as good at delivering quality relationship-based care.”
Dr Thomas was not surprised that complaints and alleged assaults in Australian aged care homes had continued to rise, as reported yesterday.
Current models of care were not suited to elderly people and their families, but more to satisfy funding and system objectives. “Elders suffer unnecessarily from loneliness, helplessness and boredom,” he said.Medical systems of care concentrate on illness and therapy and treatment and the Eden Alternative-style approach concentrates on the person and the person’s well- being.
“Certainly freedom from abuse and neglect is part of that well- being.”
Read the full story here. I know ChangingAging has readers in Australia — we’d love to hear your opinions, especially concerning the “complains and alleged assaults” we shared on the blog yesterday from The Western Australian.