How the rise of chronic disease is putting a massive strain on aged care

Chronic disease is straining the aged care sector at both local and aggregate levels. 

At a singular facility standpoint and the sector at large, the demands of chronic disease are increasingly challenging us all. 

An important element to address within this trend is that of sustainability. 

As the ABS has made evident, Australia is facing intensified pressure on its aged care sector as demographics show a sizable advancing demographic. 

In order to facilitate the best conditions for the sector to flourish, acute and honest examinations are necessary. 

For the aged care sector to operate at its best, its most sustainable and highest quality, an awareness of its challenges is needed.

Chronic disease is one factor putting a strain on the processes and demands of the aged care sector and open dialogue is needed.

 

Two Steps Behind

 

As residents are entering facilities, medical teams are seeing an escalation in the amount of problems more so than ever before. 

Experts and teams across the sector are attempting to catch up to the needs that are being presented upon initial placement. 

Arguably what the sector is seeing is that people are entering aged care facilities at points of crisis. 

Being at a point of crisis means that people’s medical, physical and emotional needs are intensely prominent, commencing immediately taking up residence and calling upon wider teams of medical personnel.

 

Root Causes

 

It must be stated that the royal commission into the aged care will likely discover many circumstances of grievous neglect and abuse within the sector, which wholeheartedly must be condemned. 

There is no doubt that there are elements within the aged care sector which must swiftly and thoroughly be addressed. 

In this vein, in the attempt to facilitate our aged care sector to be at its optimal an examination of trends and difficulties that it is facing must be investigated.  

Many critics of the sector state that the ‘aged care sector is broken’, when in reality there is a far more nuanced collection of factors at work. 

The reality is arguably that processes, systems, society and medical networks are not getting to the root cause of the problems affecting the elderly. 

It is these untreated effects, that have advanced heavily in people before they enter the aged care sector, that are putting so much strain on it.

 

Nutrition Is Vital

 

Increasingly we are finding that nutrition across our lives plays a huge role in the health and wellbeing of a person.

 The cumulative effect of our nutritional and physical habits have been found to be almost paramount in a person’s health. 

Grievously, as statistical data is released, it seems that people are not receiving and understanding this vital information throughout their lives. 

Dietary habits are seen to be laid as early as the toddler years, meaning nutritional information is vital for parents seeking the health of their children and themselves as well.

Sustained Change

 

Natural and sustained health arguably comes from a myriad of sources concurrently at play, from a balanced diet, to regular exercise and good sleep. 

While people are able to receive help to manage high cholesterol through the prescribing of medication, arguably deeper change will be found through nutritional and exercise intervention. 

Studies have shown that a combination of diet and exercise modifications can decrease the development of many diseases. 

Yet arguably many who are in need of implementing change rarely have the support and accountability they need to maintain these modifications.

 

Difficulties Later On

 

The consequences of the diets and exercise amounts of many mean that when one reaches the senior years, 85 and over, many can be taking as many as 8-9 medications, attempting to manage the effects of 5-6 chronic diseases. 

Yet every medication, while mitigating the effects of one illness, will inevitably influence and disrupt a person’s nutritional state, for as long as it is taken, sometimes up to 30 years. 

The effects of a disease and the side effects of medications are sizable in the health and overall functioning of a human. 

Unfortunately, it is uncommon for people, when at junctions in their lives where chronic disease may be starting, to use them as an opportunity to see a nutritionist or other practitioner and make significant modifications in their diet and activity schedules. 

The complicated problems that many are seeing in aged care were started 50-60 years earlier.

It is through seeing health through the whole spectrum of age that sustainable change can be made. 

Through meeting the needs of all at the earliest possible stage the future may be laid for all of us as we grow older.

 

Australian Aged Care Guild 



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