Older Australians ‘the least valued people in society’

Pat Garcia (Supplied)

Catholic Health Australia chief Pat Garcia believes how those less valued by society are treated is a guide to how Australia approaches aged care. Source: Aged Care InSite.

By Conor Burke, Aged Care InSite

Mr Garcia said the elderly are the least valued people in our society.

“We often talk in Catholic health about the ministry of healing, that applies to both aged care and health care. Not many people really know what the ministry of healing is. One element is what we call radical inclusion. For Jesus it meant looking at the most socially excluded person and bringing that person to the centre of his world. In those days it was groups of people like lepers,” Mr Garcia said.

“We also want to bring the most excluded people to the centre of our world. And we look around at the people who are disadvantaged. Often today they are people from regional areas and so we provide a lot of regional aged care services, where a lot of other organisations might not be willing to do that because it is so unprofitable.”

Keeping aged care in the minds of the public will be one of Catholic Health’s top properties under Mr Garcia. He has been dismayed at the low level of attention the royal commission has garnered and he will be talking to the Minister for Aged Care, Richard Colbeck, about a public campaign aimed at tackling ageism and bringing ageing to the centre of public discourse.

“It got a couple of days on the front pages and then it just disappeared. And when you think about the other royal commissions that have occurred over the last two to three years, they got more space in the newspapers than our RoyalCCommission is currently getting,” Mr Garcia said.

“And I still think that is reflective of the ageism that exists in society today. But in terms of its recommendation – we agree wholeheartedly with the recommendations which are being made by the royal commission. Do we think it goes far enough? Not at this point.”


Keeping the faith: Catholic Health Chief on valuing our elders (Aged Care InSite)

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