While many of our residents move to a village to continue living a full and independent life, their needs and capacity often change as they get older.
For some, the changes occur slowly, and for others, their health and wellbeing deteriorate more rapidly.
Regardless of when they happen, these changes are usually unplanned and result in the need for initial support until formal assistance or services are established.
Delays in accessing services, reluctance to address needs and the long wait times for Home Care Packages, all contribute to the increasing reliance on informal carers.
Carers and complexities
In our communities, we see the benefits of the vital role that carers play in the lives of our residents, but we also see (and may need to manage) the complexities when the carer is a spouse, family member, friend or even another resident!
We see couples where one person cares for their spouse, and then the carer becomes exhausted or unwell.
Residents become reliant and often a burden on good-hearted neighbours or residents, with the best intent, take up the role of carer for a neighbour and then withdraw their support as they are unable to manage.
Then we have family members who become full-time carers and want to be a live-in carer or, alternately, those who don’t see the need for support or care and are happy to let the Village Manager pick up and do what they can for the resident.
Yes, as Village Professionals, we see it all, and it can be overwhelming for us too.
So, what can we do?
The best strategy is to have some established policies or guides that your Management Team endorses.
Develop a policy for carers to live in the village should the need arise considering:
- Approval on a case-by-case basis
- Evidence of medical / GP support
- Rights of residency, voting, parking
- The obligation of the carer to abide by the Village Rules
- Residency ceases upon vacation of resident and consider the termination obligations of the contract and legislation
- Documented approval rather than a contract addendum
You can also refer to agencies who specialise in carer support:
Carers Australia – https://www.carersaustralia.com.au
Promote services available for older people and their carers:
MyAgedCare – https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/caring-someone
Act now; don’t wait
It is always best to develop a policy when you are not under time pressure or you already ‘have a situation’, when raising new policy guidelines can be misconstrued to being in response to one case.
Preparation of a simple document to start the discussion with your Management Team and possible the Residents Committee is a great first step.