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Aged care - an election issue?

By Jim Toohey - posted Wednesday, 15 August 2001

Most of the major newspapers, editorialists and other enlightened commentators are telling us with nauseating frequency that "Aged Care" will be an election issue!

Unfortunately, the statement that "Aged Care" is or should be an election issue is almost as meaningless as the assertion that "globalisation" is responsible for the destruction of all that is good and decent in Australian society!

Both sentiments are essentially nonsense because one would have to suspect the proponents don't actually understand or can hardly define exactly what the key terms are.


For example, what is meant by "aged care"?

Is it as simple as saying "caring for elderly people"?

Is it meant to encompass the institutional care of frail, elderly people who are unable to live by themselves?

Or does it include societal definitions of aged people and where they "fit"?

Is the concept meant to encompass medical care only or physical and emotional support and spiritual succour etc?

Do those who use the term freely have particular geographic locations in mind; hospitals, nursing homes, hospitals?


What about retirement villages?

What about community care providers?

What about families-siblings, children or partners who care for elderly relatives in their own home without assistance?

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About the Author

Jim Toohey is a practicing Catholic and former Catholic seminarian.

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