Sunday, November 15, 2009

Households in domestic squalor a growing issue

One in 1000 Australians over the age of 65 are living in domestic squalor.

Unable to recognise the risks to health and hygiene, people can live surrounded by vermin, decaying food, rubbish and sometimes dead animals. Dr Debbie Kralik, head of Research and Strategy at the RDNS SA, said initial research among the RDNS client base indicates domestic squalor is becoming a real social problem.

Dr Kralik is one of several experts to speak at the first National Squalor Conference – Pathway through the Maze in Sydney on November 5. The conference will address the causes and consequences of domestic squalor, examine when it is appropriate to intervene, and look for solutions to tackle the problem.

“It is a widespread issue that impacts our communities,” said Dr Kralik. “Most people are aware of someone in their neighbourhood who could be considered to be living in squalor.”

“Domestic squalor is under-researched and under recognised and it is costing society millions of dollars.

There are many reasons why people live in squalor.”

“The individual could have a health condition such as dementia or an addition to alcohol or drugs. Every case is different but living in squalor can lead to serious health problems”, explained Dr. Kralik. “The issue for District Nurses is being able to safely access the homes of people who need health care.”..."