The final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted that older people should be supported to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.
One group of older Australians vulnerable to not being able to age well at home with independence and dignity are those living with hoarding and/or challenges maintaining a healthy home. It is estimated that 2.5% of the adult population lives with hoarding. That equates to approximately 5000 older Tasmanians. However, Tasmania does not have any social policy, practice or program settings to support this vulnerable cohort. Treasured Lives is a two-phased project which provides the first in-depth investigation into what's needed to provide effective supports for older Tasmanians and their families and carers when they are dealing with these issues.
This second report focuses on the experiences and needs of Tasmanian service providers and statutory agencies. It describes the lack of a social care safety net for some of Tasmania's most vulnerable older residents. It lays out how professionals across social care, emergency services, housing and local government have no specialist services to refer older people to that can support their clinical, psychosocial and practical support needs around hoarding disorder. And highlights how they are sometimes unable to support clients in their home, due to workplace health and safety issues.
Drawing on these experiences and a scan of practice in Australia and internationally, the report recommends a focused Tasmanian policy and practice framework that recognises this issue as a community concern, funded regional professional networks, workforce development and a suite of specialist case management, clinical, psychosocial and practical support services.