Tasmania will need at least 4000 more aged care workers by the end of 2022 as the state’s population rapidly ages.
Aged and Community Service Australia estimates that number alone will be needed to cater for the increasing number of older Tasmanians, but even more will be needed to replace retiring staff.
Half the current workforce is expected to retire in the next 15 years, by which time a quarter of all Tasmanians will be aged over 65.
In many rural and remote areas in Tasmania the aged services sector is the largest employer, and the need for workers in these areas will continue to grow,” said Pat Sparrow, chief executive of Aged and Community Service Australia.
“Government needs to work with industry on employment initiatives that will enhance the pool of available workers through measures to attract and retain the right-fit people.”
One in five Tasmanians is already aged over 65 and Tasmania is the fastest ageing state or territory, 2016 Census data shows.
The aged-care sector in 2015 employed about 8000 Tasmanians. The number will soar to 30,000 by 2050.
Ms Sparrow said, as well as finding staff, othe goals for the next four years included ensuring those in residential care received adequate care in areas such as mental health, dental, palliative and preventative health. Increasing the supply of social and affordable housing, in conjunction with aged care providers, was also vital.
“There’s been a startling rise in homelessness amongst older Australians, particularly amongst older women, and the problem is expected to get worse as the population ages,” Ms Sparrow said.
Council on the Ageing’s Sue Leitch said the next state government could help with more consumer support to help older people navigate a complex system of services.
The council will send a questionnaire to election candidates canvassing their views on issues such as flu vaccinations for aged care staff, digital inclusion and elder abuse.
“Ageing issues are much broader than just aged care and that’s the approach we’ll be taking into the state election,” Ms Leitch said.
This article was originally published on www.themercury.com.au on January 9, 2018.
Author: David Beniuk