For most of us, having a roof over our heads, a full fridge and access to a shower is a given, but unfortunately it is something many people go without. These basic needs shouldn’t be a luxury. Everyone deserves safe and secure housing, no matter their age, demographic or financial status.
Sadly, elderly people are one of the fastest-growing cohorts within the homeless population. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics it is estimated more than 9,000 people sleep rough in Western Australia each night and people aged 55 years and above account for 16 per cent of the total homeless population in Australia. The number of people aged 55+ experiencing homelessness has steadily increased over the past 10 years, and with the rising cost of living we can assume this increase will again be reflected when the 2021 Census data is released later this year.
The number of West Australians unable to access aged care services is also staggering and the impact of COVID-19 and halt on the development of new facilities due to the rising cost of construction has drastically exacerbated the problem.
Workforce shortages in aged care have also heightened the issue, with more than 340 elderly people being denied access to residential aged care in WA due to workforce shortages in the last year alone.
It’s also worth noting that it can take 2-3 months between being assessed for aged care and finding a suitable home in an aged care facility. Add the impact of an ageing population and we have a crisis on our hands that needs urgent attention.