Eden CWA member Sharyn Nammensma spoke from the heart when she put a motion to the recent CWA of NSW conference in Armidale, about care and support in the home for the elderly.
The motion, calling on the federal government to ensure equity in the distribution of My Aged Care packages, was endorsed by the conference and the CWA will lobby for improved access for rural areas. The system of allocation was changed last February resulting in rural people waiting longer as they joined the queue with those from cities.
I would have liked the choice of being able to have John at home.Sharyn Nammensma
“The queue is long and rural and regional areas wait as they form the minority,” Ms Nammensma said.
It’s something she understands well having sought to get a care package for her husband John so that he could stay at home, but is still in a queue long after John went into the Eden Bupa Nursing Home.
By February 2017 John’s condition had deteriorated and despite requests for additional help, Ms Nammensma was becoming desperate and put John into Bupa Eden Nursing Home for respite care, but because there was no appropriate care package available, he never came out.
“I would have liked the choice of being able to have John at home. It might only have lasted a year but I would have liked the choice,” Ms Nammensma said.
The government has promoted the care packages as they allow older people to stay at home longer. They are also less costly than nursing home care.
However there are now 100,000 people on the waiting list for home care packages.
Treasurer Scott Morrison announced that the government would increase home care packages by 14,000 over four years as part of the recent budget measures.
But Ms Nammensma said it is not enough with 100,000 people in the queue.
She has been caring for John since 2013. When he lost the ability to walk in 2016 four hours of care a week was provided.
In 2017 Ms Nammensma wrote to My Aged Care but never received a reply. She also wrote to Bega MP Andrew Constance who passed her letter to the Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.