Some lament the fact that they are getting older but as my late mother used to say – what is the alternative.


To say that aged care has been in the spotlight this year both with a Royal Commission and COVID-19 is a massive understatement.

Yet despite truckloads of cash and massive regulation at state and federal level, we don’t appear to be getting it right. Or maybe we just don’t hear about the positive side of aged care as it is less newsworthy.

Hard to tell. There certainly does not appear to be a rush for the entrance gates.

Many years ago, Patch Adams (the famous clown doctor) gave a talk to a group of doctors in Perth. I was honoured to have a photo taken with him. He asked those present to put up their hand if they wanted to end their days in an aged care facility. You can guess how many hands went up. His next question was more pointed – so why do we keep building them?

The answer is at once both obvious and also perplexing.

Can we do better? Of course, we can. Is the solution to beat up those currently doing their best? No, it’s not. Is more of the same going to suffice?

Australia, like other countries is facing massive debt and there will not be buckets of cash for the health system. In turn we need to respond by thinking laterally and look for innovative solutions.


This month we look at aged care in a broad sense. Falls prevention is an area where simple interventions can make a significant difference. Ultimately the end comes for all and decisions on how people want to die is a taboo topic which needs to stop being taboo and actually discussed. This is examined.

Staying in better health as we age makes it more likely that we can remain independent. New research in use of colchicine for secondary coronary artery disease protection, testosterone in reducing type two diabetes and neuropeptides in ischaemic stoke are covered together with a Perth first – the use of radiation therapy to treat a cardiac arrythmia.

Australia, like other countries is facing massive debt and there will not be buckets of cash for the health system. In turn we need to respond by thinking laterally and look for innovative solutions. A lazy “please sir we want some more (money)” will not be sufficient.

Helping people stay healthier as they age can reduce demands on both the health and aged care systems. Genuine prevention of illness and maintenance of health will need to be the focus going forward.

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