Wintringham’s history is now reasonably well known – we evolved from the night shelters where elderly people were trying to survive in about as tough an environment as is possible to imagine. Predictably they were dying like flies.
The aged care industry is very different to the homeless service sector. It is more conservative, less innovative and with a very different client basePrimarily, it has taught us to think for ourselves and create our own solutions
The key lesson was that in order to survive in what was potentially a hostile environment, we needed to reframe the way people looked at the elderly homeless. If we could get them seen as being part of the aged cohort, we then could open up the gates to aged care funding.As a result we have been able to establish the right of elderly homeless people to access aged care servicesWe see ourselves as being a housing provider into which we provide aged care services
We soon learnt that there was no simple or universal answer to either what an elderly person needed or who should fund itflexibility
One day while discussing with a new manager a resident who despite having sufficient awareness that his drinking was killing him chose to continue, the conversation changed to what role do we or should we play in prolonging life. Where and how does our duty of care impact on the resident’s rights? At what stage do we curtail rights to protect the client or his neighbours? These are difficult questions that we wrestle with every day. For many of our chronically addicted or brain damaged clients, not only is alcohol and cigarettes a behaviour management tool, it is also one of their daily pleasures. In the absence of family or friends, how do we justify intervening to prevent that addictive behaviour, even if it is a public health issue?In helping explain Wintringham’s position, we developed the Telstra Dome theory of aged care.
Supported Housing Bryan Lipmann, AM CEO Wintringham
Wintringham provides aged care and housing services to the Elderly Homeless
Our first efforts were to build residential aged care facilities and in 1993 we opened our first one, McLean Lodge, in Flemington
Then followed a succession of aged care facilities including a nursing home specifically for elderly homeless people.
Realising that some elderly people did not need full residential aged care services, we began to build older persons housing
And then realised that we needed community care support packages to help maintain older people in their housing.Today we manage about 550 CACP and EACH packages.
In summary we very quickly realised that the aged care notion of independent living was a nonsense – we all need various forms of support
Providing homeless services from within a mainstream service system that is not designed for homeless people, is a constant challenge.
The key lesson we learnt was that it was necessary to redefine or reframe the problemHomeless and Elderly not Elderly and Homeless
A typical client of the aged care sector is• 85 years old• Middle class• Expectant of services• With an aggressive daughter to lobby on her behalf
A typical client of the aged A typical Wintringham client care sector is however is:• 85 years old • 65 years old• Middle class • Working class• Expectant of services • Reluctant to accept services• With an aggressive • Little or no family support daughter to lobby on her behalf