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Retirement Life

The vital issue that brought Q+A's host and guest to tears

The vital issue that brought Q+A's host and guest to tears

Q&A host Hamish Macdonald and Liberal MP were brought to tears on the program after discussing Australia's failing aged care system.

Allen ended the show in tears after speaking about her father's battle with dementia.

"He couldn't speak for the last year of his life, he couldn't walk, his only words that were left were 'thank you'," Ms Allen said through tears.

"It's a terrible disease, so I think people [need to be] able to have the choice, and the control, and the laws in Victoria have been, I think, I have to say well handled and I think that we need to have this sort of conversation, particularly for dementia."

Macdonald broke down in tears much later after asking an audience member and his daughter questions about aged-care homes.

Audience member Timothy Granger and his daughter Prudence-Rose spoke about Timothy's battle with early-onset Alzheimer's as he was diagnosed at the age of 51.

Timothy spoke about his fears about what the future holds for him.

"How are you doing?" Macdonald asked.

"Going well," Mr Granger responded before adding: "Sorry, I have a little bit of problem with speech, sorry, what was your question?

"I wanted to know how you're doing," Macdonald said.

"You're living at home with your beautiful wife, your wonderful daughter. How do you feel about the prospect of one day going into an aged care facility?"

"I think what makes it scary is he's so much younger," she said.

"He's going to be potentially going in there in his 60s or sooner, which we really want to avoid but if that occurs, how can he live his best life in these facilities that aren't really set up for him at his age?

"There are more people getting diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's."

Macdonald asked Timothy how he felt about discussing that with his family.

"That's going to be difficult and probably it's going to be hard for them as well," Mr Granger said.

"I'm scared. I think it's not something you think is going to happen so soon," Ms Granger added

"We would like to be able to support him for as long as we can, the reality is we probably can't.

"We also have financial concerns. We'd like to be able to put him in a facility that will support him and his needs but I don't know if he could afford that or if we would get in.

"And I'm just witnessing that, especially tonight, listening to everything that everybody is saying and it's really scary."

It was here that Macdonald started to cry.

"I've met Tim previously, so I was already somewhat familiar with the situation he is in," Macdonald told the ABC.

"He has a beautiful warmth and a great sense of humour, I was really looking forward to catching up tonight.

"In truth, we can spend hours talking about the statistics and the data and the sad history of aged care in Australia, but stories like Tim bring the realities home to us all.

"When Tim speaks, you can imagine this was you, you can imagine this was your partner or your father. It is impossible not to be moved by Tim's story.

"He's a father, a husband and a lovely human, faced with some extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I'm really pleased there's a space for Tim and people like him to have a voice in such an important national conversation around aged care."