Aged Care: A Career Life Transitions Perspective

This article is authored by Peter James and is originally published by Career Life Transitions, part of the Career Money Life Supplier Community. 

Between 1946 and 1965, 5.5 million people were born in Australia, this is the Baby Boomer demography. That means that this year the first of that group are 72 years old and will be or are already, in a state of requiring aged care support.  This represents over 20% of the current population (24 Million) well into retirement within the next 12 years.

The expectations of this group will far outstrip their parent’s expectations in terms of technology, level and sophistication of support, quality of support and quality of life.  They are also likely to live much longer than their parents.

This is going to put enormous pressure on support services in several ways:

  1. Sheer volume of numbers (for extended timeframes)
  2. Higher level of service quality
  3. Financial gaps (government and retirees funding)

It’s no surprise, people have seen it coming for years, just look at the continual government interference with super and super funds,

but are we really ready for the Baby Boomers?

Over the past 100 years, there have been a number of charitable organisations established to support the aged, many coming out of the church environment or philanthropic individuals.  They have provided a very valuable service to the community, mostly in an environment of lower volumes and shorter life spans. These wonderful organisations have now been thrust into a modern business and highly competitive world that is causing major disruption to the status quo and put enormous pressure on individuals, some of who have only worked in that environment their whole working lives.

The problem for these organisations is compounded by new ‘for profit’ players entering the market (keen to take advantage of the volumes) and reduced support from government. 

Most governments (the issue is not unique to Australia) have recognised the enormity of the problem and the inability of the workforce (i.e. the baby boomers children) to support the baby boomers through the latter years of their lives.

It would also appear that Baby Boomers have not done a very good job of preparing themselves for their retirement. One statistic bandied around is that

only 15% of the population has enough funds or access to funds to last them through the first 2 years of their retirement.

This financial pressure by the government is not unique to this industry, Universities are, or have gone through the same pain.  What this financial pressure is trying to drive is organisations that are:

  • Self-sustaining
  •  Redesigning themselves to adapt to a ‘different’ future
  • Delivering services; quicker, cheaper and smarter

The rate of change or the expectation of change is significant and substantial and many organisations are struggling with understanding how they should prepare or be preparing.

Aged care is a people business, but there are also substantial opportunities for automation.  One company is supplying their clients with robotic companions in the form or robotic dogs or helpers.  Others are experimenting with robotics inpatient care (turning incapacitated patients etc.).  Aged care also attracts a demographic of workers that may not be familiar with technology, let alone the acceleration of technology.

So the challenge is a massive clash of financial pressure, client demographics, company demographics, organisational design and unprecedented growth.

Career Life Transitions are working with a number of NFP organisations in this area and we appreciate the challenges. Organisations need to move and adapt quickly or find themselves in a position where their noble best intentions are no longer enough.  It is an exciting area, the biggest growth industry in the country and showing no signs of slowing down.  The opportunities are boundless, but making it happen, or even keeping up, is the challenge.

A major shift in thinking, approach and problem solving is required, as Einstein once said “The thinking it took to get us into this (situation) is not the same thinking that is going to get us out of it”.

Everyone experiences the transition to retirement differently – some long for it, whereas others are worried about what comes next. Whatever your employees are feeling, make their transition an enjoyable one with Career Money Life’s range of services, tools and resources. Book a demo or contact us to find out more about our Transition to Retirement Programs.

 

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