Enhancing access to aged care for seniors in Australia's regional and remote areas

  • Jo Winkleman, Community Connector, at Longreach Library talking to locals and visitors about the ADA Link service

Jo Winkleman, Community Connector, at Longreach Library talking to locals and visitors about the ADA Link service

Too often the first serious contact many people have with the aged care system is in a time of crisis. Adding to the stress, navigating Australia’s aged care system can be complex and confusing, as identified by the Royal Commission into Aged Care’s findings.

In response, the Australian Government has introduced a national care finder program, a free service to help older people access aged care and other services they might need in their communities.

Funded through the Primary Health Networks, ADA Link delivers care finder services across rural, regional and remote Queensland. From Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, up through Longreach and western Queensland out to Mt Isa, Townsville, Cairns and up to the Torres Strait.

The service operates on a referral basis where members of the community, or organisations, can refer a senior who they believe could benefit from support. ADA Link’s local Community Connectors then work hand in hand with a person to connect them to services in aged care, health, finance, or the social sectors.

ADA Link Manager Terri-Ann Dwyer explained how the service has already helped over 470 seniors and that there have been some remarkable outcomes.

In remote areas, often over dirt roads, ADA Link’s Community Connectors have been re-establishing lost connections for their clients. She said entering the residential aged care system could be confronting for people who had lived in the same house for 50 years, or Indigenous people who lived on country, who were in areas that did not have aged care facilities close by. Providing assistance to older people to allow them to continue to live in their own home as long as possible is the best way.

Of course, the team faces the same challenge of limited availability of services in rural and remote areas, but uses their knowledge of local communities, and the health and aged care systems to problem solve and come up with creative solutions.

The care finder program is about making sure the well-being of all older people in our communities is supported.

ADA Link is the care finder provider in the Darling Downs & West Moreton, Western Queensland and Northern Queensland Primary Health Network regions.


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