By Lydia Paterson
Edmund Burke wrote that society is a partnership between each living generation, as well as a partnership between past and future generations. This cross-generational compact demonstrates the importance of our generation taking up leadership roles in the aged care sector.
It’s also a hugely exciting time to be working in aged care. The bipartisan political commitment to the introduction of consumer-directed care means there are many new opportunities for innovation, for improvement and for change. For new ways of doing things. There are exciting new technologies emerging to assist older people, as well as new models of care that empower each individual to make choices about the supports and services they want in their lives.
Great sums of both public and private dollars are converging into the aged care market, creating significant opportunities for young entrepreneurs to develop new business models to service the ageing population. Young people have a fantastic opportunity to shape the industry with their ideas about how we can deliver the best outcomes for older Australians.
It’s also incredibly rewarding to work in aged care. Delivering great care and better outcomes for a generation that has given so much to our country is something to take great pride in, as all aged care workers do.
And yet sadly many young people have little interest in working in aged care, despite the significant employment opportunities the sector will generate in coming years as the baby boomers begin to enter the system. We need to address this for two reasons. The first is for the sake of older Australians, who deserve a thriving aged care market that offers choice and diversity of care offerings.
But we also need to address it for our generation too. We face a tough employment market to begin with, and over coming decades the ratio of taxpayers to non-working people will widen in line with the ageing population. This could put serious strain on the Australian economy.
This is why innovative thinking and leadership in aged care is important. We have the opportunity to improve the aged care system to deliver better outcomes for older Australians. We need more bang for our buck when it comes to aged care, and leaders who can foster ideas, innovation and technology solutions are the only way we can achieve it.
Leadership in aged care, like leadership in all walks of life, can be a challenging path. Sometimes it’s easier to just go with the flow, to not be the person trying to shake things up or do things better. But finding ways to nurture and develop young leaders in aged care is vital to the future of the industry.
That’s why it’s important that young leaders have a forum such as the Acorn Network to come together to share experiences and ideas, and to support each other on what can sometimes be a lonely road. But more than that, it’s equally important that young people in aged care have a platform to demonstrate to others that there are great opportunities in aged care that are ready to be tapped by enthusiastic and committed young leaders.
Written by Lydia Paterson.
Lydia is the Chief Executive Officer at Care Guidance, a unique Melbourne-based company that provides help to families with the transition to aged care through a fusion of technology and services. She is passionate about helping older Australians get the best aged care possible.