Welcome to a series of blogs on personal wellbeing for people receiving aged care services. The series is intended to prompt new conversations on the subjective evaluation of wellbeing amongst the aged and the impact of aged care services on the people being cared for and their stakeholders. With that in mind, we welcome comments, extensions and shares – we will try to respond and incorporate feedback into the series.
The series is intended to empower consumers of aged care and their stakeholders to reflect on and evaluate their wellbeing as part of consuming aged care services. It is also intended to encourage aged care providers, quality assessors and policy makers to include subjective wellbeing in the design and measurement of aged care services.
Aged Care services in Australia tend to start with a basic level of support for things such as transport, gardening, cleaning and social support; community day clubs; in-home personal and medical care; residential respite; and at the highest level, full-time residential care. These are massively different levels of service that have different implications for level of support and perceived independence. This system is complementary to, but separate from, the health system in Australia.
Aged care services are a last resort for many ageing Australian’s who often avoid considering aged care until life becomes unmanageable. The perception is often “I have failed” or “I am losing control” or “I don’t want to need looking after but have no choice.” Yet aged care services can often be the difference between maintaining independence and quality of life, may be worse in the anticipation than the experience (hopefully), and are interpreted differently by each individual. For example, one of my first interviews in an aged care residence was with a lady in a wheelchair who was too ill to leave her room – I felt hers would be a sorry tale but when I asked for the interview I was greeted with “yes that would be ok but we need to be quick as I have phone calls to make” and later “look how independent I am”, “I have everything I need” and “I get to choose.” Wow!
With this in mind, it is important to understand whether aged care services are enhancing or reducing quality of life & wellbeing for the recipient of the services.
We start this series with the value of measuring subjective wellbeing. The second instalment covers how to measure subjective wellbeing (coming soon). The third discusses how subjective wellbeing could extend and clarify the Australian Government’s Customer Experience Interview (CEI) measure (coming soon). This is a working blog in that we want to develop our thinking as we work through the topics – please feel free to contribute to that process. We will adjust our thinking based on contributions as the series progresses.