Recent reforms may disadvantage minority groups

MINORITY groups could miss out on aged care services under recent Labor government reforms, if their special needs are not taken care of, the head of Alzheimer's Australia has argued.

Chief executive Glenn Rees said the recent reforms may disadvantage people with dementia, the homeless, indigenous and gay and lesbian Australians.

Mr Rees said such minority groups faced "unique challenges in accessing aged care services" due to a "lack of trust", social isolation, stigma and discrimination.

"There are many things to celebrate in the aged care reforms but the consumer-directed guidelines for home care packages, as they currently stand, are disappointing," he said.

Mr Rees said while the reforms did help provide a better aged care system, it did not specifically recognise the needs of those "who for whatever reason feel alienated from mainstream services".

The peak group representing people with alzheimer's disease has recommended more resources be put to outreach support networks and expanding education and training for aged care workers.

It also suggested extra financial incentives for group provided specialist care to vulnerable groups and more research to understand how care can be "more sensitive to their needs".

Mr Rees said that unless the needs of such groups were addressed, they face "a real risk of being further marginalised" in the aged care system.

Topics:  aged care alzheimer's federal election 2013

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