VICTORIAN Aged Care Minister Luke Donnellan says attitudes must change towards caring for the elderly in communities across the state.
Minister Donnellan said the national aged care royal commission was welcome, necessary and highlighted a shocking, general lack of respect for the elderly.
"This is something we need to look at ourselves and actually [ask] are we respecting those who have done a lot for this country, who have wisdom and who have needs," Minister Donnellan said.
"... (We need to) actually say are we providing the care that we need to and I think we need to do better."
Are we providing the care that we need to? I think we need to do better.
Minister Donnellan visited Ballarat Health Services aged care facilities on Thursday morning to announce a $9.5 million splash on facility upgrades across the state. Ballarat has the largest public aged care services in Australia with more than 400 residents.
BHS will receive $671,000 across three aged care sites. This will enable upgrades to a nurse call system at Talbot Place, new air-conditioning and recreation space at Hailey Hostel and a new outdoor area with a sensory garden at Queen Elizabeth Hostel.
Minister Donnellan said upgrades were essential to ensure facilities were fit for purpose, fit for maintaining dignity and flexibly to meet changing population needs. He said this included a move towards more single rooms, more common areas to socialise and sensory, stimulating gardens for people living with dementia.
"We've always got to keep going harder and always got to keep upgrading facilities because it is the style of care, the expectations the community change all the time," Minister Donnellan said.
The Minister met with residents at PS Hobson Nursing Home, a BHS site in Wendouree. He talked about staying active with resident Tony Danko, who had just started to venture into the home's new activities room.
"I've started walking down there by myself," Mr Danko said. "It's really important to socialise. I can play cards, I can watch (visiting) chickens grow and I can go in the garden. There are lots of activities, like going shopping."
BHS chief executive officer Dale Fraser said resident needs had greatly changed since facilities were first built 20 to 30 years ago. Mr Fraser said there was a growing influx of residents without family or neighbours to care for them and it was important to offer a modern caring, compassionate, home-like environment for them.
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