Australia’s aged care landscape
24 May, 2019
The aged care landscape in Australia is under constant review and change
In the last five years there has been significant changes to funding in the industry, and the introduction of a consumer-directed model for paying for aged care services.
A pioneer in retirement living services, Phil Usher, CEO and founder of Odyssey Health Group, brought private aged care into Queensland in 2000 with the creation of Tall Trees.
Pioneering private aged care in Queensland
In the late 90s, Phil’s mother was getting to an age where they needed to start pre-planning her retirement, which she was very open to doing.
In a very frank discussion, she illustrated to Phil exactly what she did and didn’t want… she didn’t want to be told what to do or have her power and authority taken away from her.
What she wanted was to live in a home-like setting, with her dog, where there were services in place to help her as she got frail and needed increased care.
So, Phil set out to find this type of living arrangement for his mother, but there wasn’t anything like this available at the time. The only options were a retirement village or aged care.
This got Phil thinking and he set off on a journey to the United States to see what they did there and found exactly what his mother wanted, although under a different format.
And an idea was born.
Phil believed that what his mother wanted, others must also want, and set out to survey elderly people in shopping centres to gauge their interest.
What he found was interesting – the people he surveyed liked the idea and were staying at home because they didn’t feel that could get that level of service in a comfortable environment.
And thus, private aged care was born in Queensland.
Many people questioned Phil’s model as they thought people would not want to pay for the service, but for the consumer, it was all about choice.
People, like Phil’s mother, wanted the power of choice about how they would live and be cared for and were happy to pay for this service.
Phil created a user-pay system, that paid for extra services that government packages wouldn’t cover.
Government-funded facilities versus private aged care communities
The biggest difference between government-funded facilities versus private aged care communities is the cost and what you get for it.
In a government-funded facility, people live in a room, usually 12/13 – 32sqm, with an en-suite.
In private aged care communities, you downsize from your home into a one or two-bedroom apartment that is 65 – 95sqm in size.
When you need care, it’s delivered onsite to your apartment, as and when you need it. True ageing in place.
You can have friends and family come and stay at your apartment and have your pets live with you too.
Government-funded facilities receive funding through Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACIF) and each person is subject to an affordability test.
New venture, Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities
Phil’s latest venture is a five-star private aged care community under the new Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities banner.
At the new community, clients are able to downsize from their house into a luxury one or two-bedroom apartment.
The community is situated in beautiful grounds with a lovely restaurant and childcare centre within the broader locale.
There is no need for clients to move again as their level of care increases, as the care is delivered to them as they require it.