Caring services for the elderly
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100 years ago life expectancy at birth was 47 years for males and 51 years for females. Today it is around 70 for males and 77 for females. In some circles this increase in life expectancy is seen as a calamity for society - but I think it would be more reasonable to regard it as a major achievement. There is, however, a price to be paid for the privilege of living longer and that price is paid in the terms of an increase in the nature of degenerative diseases. The rates of chronic illness in all industrial societies are very high and Australia is no exception. What becomes important is trying to understand the network of the services - statutory and non-statutory - formal and informal - what can be blended together to improve the quality of life of the person suffering from chronic illness, and to ensure that those who care for these people have their needs met as well.
Speech presented at the Community Health Conference, Adelaide, 25th September 1986 by Adam Graycar, Commissioner for the Ageing. This speech is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/