Older adults living in residential aged care are unable to engage in meaningful leisure pursuits within their facilities due to ambiguous policy supportive of a medical approach to aged care. The Australian Government has recognised that a new Aged Care Act is needed to reflect proposed sector reform, allocating $81.9 million to its development and implementation. We are providing the Australian Government with the solution as to how we can increase the availability of meaningful leisure options within Residential Aged Care by changing existing policy.
Within the current policy, Aged Care Providers are to comply with the Quality of Care Principles 2014 which specifies the expected outcome for 'leisure interests and activities' is that "Care recipients are encouraged and supported to participate in a wide range of interests and activities of interest to them".
We propose the policy be specific to ensure leisure choices are reflective of individual identity, our suggestion is "Care recipients are encouraged and supported continually to participate in a wide range of leisure activities that provide meaning and that are reflective of their interests, values and identity. Compensatory and innovative strategies are put in place to ensure continued engagement and successful ageing".
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