Being a support worker is a fulfilling, rewarding career and the demand for support workers is increasing without any signs of slowing. As the baby boomer generation reaches seniority, it’s clear that Australia will soon be in desperate need of more support workers. Is it possible that a solution be found amongst the cohort of older Australians themselves?
Independent aged care workers are a relatively new breed, but one that’s growing exponentially. Working independently means more flexibility around your work schedule and greater choice over who you work with and what you charge.
Historically, the aged care industry has been governed by traditional providers and work practices. However, this new way of working is becoming a genuine alternative for support workers: Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia’s (HESTA) recent report indicates that 80,000 aged care employees are expected to leave their current positions due to poor workplace conditions and unhappiness over the next five years.
In an increasingly consumer-led aged care marketplace, these independent workers are vital. They’re flexible, able to provide tailored support and can provide care in their local communities. Better Caring is a vehicle for this new model of care as it directly connects independent support workers to clients looking for support to remain living independently.
The independent worker model is catching on: according to HESTA’s report, traditional providers are needing to adapt in order to work alongside consumer-directed models of support like Better Caring.
Despite new models like Better Caring entering the industry, a shortfall of workers is still anticipated. However, the increase of independent support work opportunities and various funding increases is attracting new people to the profession such as recent retirees and mature-aged Australians.
What’s being done to encourage older Australians to continue working?
From 2019, the government will be monitoring Australians over 45 years to ensure they keep working and upskilling in an evolving economy. The More Choices for a Longer Life package will encourage mature-age Australians to work longer, earn more and expand their skill set. This package is particularly targeted at semi-retired Australians who might not want to break off from the workforce completely.
The More Choices for a Longer Life package includes:
– wage subsidies to encourage businesses to hire more mature aged workers,
– funding incentives for older Australians to reskill and upskill,
– an additional 14,000 Home Care Packages for Australians requiring in-home aged care,
– and an expansion of the Pension Work Bonus to encourage pensioners to earn more and work longer.
Best of all, the government has announced that self-employed workers like those providing support on Better Caring can now earn up to $6,500 each year while they access the pension.
The Entrepreneurship Facilitators program which provides free mentoring and business support for entrepreneurs and the self-employed will also expand under the 2018-19 Budget. Thanks to increased funding and more viable options for self-employed workers, mature-aged Australians can now work independently and in doing so, gain better awareness of the support options that are available to them as they age.
Want to work for yourself? Better Caring is an online platform that connects people searching for aged care and disability support to a community of 2,200 independent support workers. Discover the benefits of being an independent worker on Better Caring here.