Flat White

How our aged care system robs the elderly

12 August 2020

1:04 PM

12 August 2020

1:04 PM

Is this on a scale of how low do you go?  

So there is a new virus doing the rounds. It joins the common cold, the annual flu, HIV-Aids, measles, tuberculosis, ebola, diphtheria — and the still-existent plague — as yet another scourge on humans. This virus wreaks havoc on those with the compromised health systems that come with obesity, pre-existing pathologies and old age. And never, in human history, have so many reached such very old ages. Forget three score and ten, This is now 80 plus.  

Over those eighty or so years the skeletal frame disintegrates with hips, knees, backs, hands become corrupted by injury and arthritis. The cardio-vascular system no longer pumps blood around as it used to while the alimentary system becomes increasingly intolerant of a range of foods, our eyes become blind and our ears deaf all while the brain slowly dies because it, like everything else in our mortal human bodies, is now old and in decay. We become vulnerable to a coughing fit, or getting up too quickly, or a fall that will call it curtains – no virus needed. But a virus, any virus (like a cold) can be the tipping point to the inevitable. 

If that sounds harsh it shouldn’t because all the current political hand-wringing of politicians about protecting ‘the vulnerable’ elderly forget one thing, most understand their own end of life and are quite accepting, even welcoming of it, whenever or why ever it happens.  

So what is all the anguish over aged care facilities about? Money, of course. The federal government needs the money of the elderly in the aged care system. So this is how it works: if you enter aged care on a pension then your pension continues to cover your accommodation, food and care. For some who have been on welfare systems for most of their lives, this is just business as usual. 

Now the common belief is that the bulk of long term welfare recipients have come from disadvantaged backgrounds that predicate them to such a livelihood. Yes, those are the kids from broken families sleeping rough and those with physical or mental disadvantages as well as those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own but there are some of those who just don’t want to work, do drugs and know-how to work the system. Others may never have managed to save enough for this now protracted life span.  

Before we feel too sorry for such disadvantaged we need to remember that there are many with significant physical and intellectual problems that work, have families and contribute to society in many ways. We also need to remember that Australia offers universal health care and education, the two fundamentals of an egalitarian society that are there to help overcome disadvantage. Now, these basic rights for all Australians are paid for by the taxes of those that earn over a base income rate. That is how those better off share the financial returns of their effort with others who don’t have enough to share and can’t afford such basics. 

But then these beneficent providers get older, stop working and put money into savings and industry/job supporting shareholdings or other investments to provide for their old age and for their loved families while still paying taxes from these initiatives into the common good to support others that they have never met and know nothing of. Next step is that these elderly get to an age and infirmity of needing care themselves. 

So does the government thank them for all their contributions over some 60 years by saying something like “your care is now on us”? No. Now the government goes for their savings. Instead of being supported by a pension (which they may not have if they were self-employed and took an old-fashioned pride in not being a burden on society) and are now in aged care they will have to pay the daily equivalent rate of over $52 and, if they have savings or investments (still paying income tax) these will be assessed and then the government will hit them for another $200+ per day. About $100,000 a year of financial punishment by the Australian government for never having cost Australia a cent and for having funded everything from roads to public health and schools via their income tax and rates.  

What a sad state Australia is in that it now rewards the non-achievers and robs from those that have made and paid their own way. For those in schools and just out of it the lesson is not from Xavier Herbert’s ‘Poor Fellow My Country’ but a totally different text now being taught – ‘Poor Fellows This is Your Country’ – that encourages idleness and reliance on welfare. All this when Australia needs to get making and going again we have a government system that actively robs from the savings of those that had made Australia great. 

So what do we do if we are getting older and have some assets such as the almost unheard of ‘money in the bank’? Forget thinking of sharing it amongst children and grand-children to help them buy houses, start their own businesses, pay off debt…No the best advice you can give them is to get on the welfare system from the get-go because that is when the government will look after them while you need to take holidays as far as your money will allow – overseas when possible. You can now be foolish with your money as you have no obligation to the Australian government. Ultimately, those hundreds of thousands so called servants of the public will have to reduce the size of their bureaucracies because there will be no-one left with the assets and income to support them. 

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