A SHORTAGE of aged care services in Wagga is making it more traumatic for older people who are forced to travel away to access facilities, research has revealed.
Findings released in a report by Charles Sturt University researchers has found loneliness and desperation often results in older people who have to move away from their community.
Lead author of the study Dr Maree Bernoth said from interviewing 21 family members of people living in aged care, it showed the dire need for more resources in regional locations.
She said many older people in rural communities had lived in the same area for 60 to 80 years and when they were forced to leave what was familiar to them, it was highly distressing for everyone involved.
“Wagga has tremendous services and skilled people delivering those services but there are times where that isn’t enough,” she said.
“From the research, the main thing was the number of traumatised people and families as a result of people having to move away from rural communities to access aged care.
“This has profound implications for individuals and their families, government policy and care provision practice.”
She said pressure had to be put on the government so that older people in regional areas had a voice.
“It will be a matter of funding and skilling more staff,” she said.
“We need to go wider, as a society we need to value older people and deem them worth the money and the resources.
“Then we need to be lobbying politicians.”
She said one important focus should be on carers so people with conditions like dementia could stay at home and age where they want to.
“We need to provide support for carers to assist keeping people at home,” she said, adding that an initiative that upskilled carers could be one possible solution.