The aged care sector is in a perfect storm when it comes to mental health and emotional wellbeing claims advocacy group Meaningful Ageing Australia.
Rachael Wass, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, is in Canberra today to participate in the 2022 Mental Health Australia Parliamentary Advocacy Day at Parliament House.
She is talking about the unique challenges faced by the aged care sector and why, against the background of Australia’s first wellbeing budget being introduced next month, Meaningful Ageing Australia is calling for a dedicated wellbeing budget for the aged care sector.
Meaningful Ageing Australia is calling for a dedicated budget, along with the relevant supporting Aged Care Quality Standards, which should include provision for two areas in particular:
- Dedicated and increased workforce to recognise, respond and refer for spiritual distress, emotional concerns and atypical behaviours in the older people they care for. These staff would be well placed to provide mental health ‘first aid’ – a triage system to ensure no individual situation is unseen or unnecessarily exacerbated.
- Wide adoption of an evidence-based and validated tool such as our ConnecTo, which can assess, identify and explore what brings relief and optimism and connectedness to both the older people receiving care and the staff who facilitate the process.
Older people, facing the existential challenges and spiritual distress of a profound life transition, often experience isolation, doubt, loneliness, grief, depression and anxiety.
The workforce also experiences grief, overwhelm, burnout, anxiety and depression – often undiagnosed and often is the main reason for staff turnover.