The government will provide almost $20 million of additional CHSP funding for tailored centre-based respite care for culturally and linguistically diverse older Australians.
The announcement comes after the aged care royal commission said in its final report that the availability and quality of respite care is often lacking.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck says the funding, amounting to $9.67 million a year for two years, will help senior Australians from culturally diverse communities live independently in their own homes by giving carers a break.
Forty aged and disability care providers will deliver the additional respite services to older Australians from multicultural communities, including those from Chinese, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Indian backgrounds.
“Importantly, the government is directing the extra funding to those areas in most need across the country – where there are service gaps and the highest level of demand,” Senator Colbeck said.
The respite services can include group activities, excursions and meals, with participation optional for carers and family members.
A ‘circuit breaker’
Senator Colbeck said isolation can be a particular challenge for people from linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“It’s important the additional services on offer focus on tailored support and programs that are suited to the needs of these seniors, and the needs of their communities,” he said.
Service providers are required to be as responsive as possible to requests from older Australians and their carers for short-term or non-ongoing respite, the minister said.
The need for quality respite care as a “circuit breaker” for older people and their carers was a key theme in the final report of the aged care royal commission, which found that “too often, older people and their informal carers do not receive quality respite care when they need it”.
“We heard of many problems with accessing respite care, including … a lack of respite services generally, and a lack of access to services of the right type and duration,” the commissioners found.
It recommends the establishment of respite support category providing people with up to 63 days of respite per year, as well as a wider range of high quality respite support in peoples’ homes, cottages and purpose-built facilities.
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