Dementia forcing older Aussies in care for longer: study
A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has found older people are spending longer in aged care facilities and need a higher level of attention, partly because so many of them have dementia.
The report shows 70 per cent of permanent aged care residents needed high-level care last financial year, compared with 58 per cent a decade ago.
Institute spokeswoman Ann Puet says more residents have dementia which means many require care for longer.
“On average people stay for 146 weeks now, whereas 10 years [ago], it was 131 weeks,” she said.
She says there has also been a rise in the number of people aged 90 and over who are being admitted to residential care.
“We are seeing an increasing proportion within the residential aged care sector of very old people, simply because of female longevity,” she said.
“That population its still dominated by women, although as men live longer we may see some change in that.”
Council on the Ageing spokesman Paul Flint says the findings reflect Australia’s ageing population.
“It’s the 80-plus age groups that are increasing at the fastest rate at the moment,” he said.
The report also reveals more high care places were allocated to meet increasing demand.
Catholic Health Australia chief executive officer Martin Laverty says the Government needs to step in.
“I had as recently as last week a senior Labor backbencher acknowledge to me that they were not aware of the pressure on aged care providers in their own electorate,” he said.
“A very genuine question was asked – what can we do as a government to help? Well it can assist with the pressure, relieving the pressure on capital works.”
The Aged Care Industry Council represents 95 per cent of the church, charitable and privately-owned and operated nursing homes in the country.
Spokesman Rod Young says the Government will have to face up to the extra costs associated with an ageing population.
“We’ve actually just started a new funding scheme which has changed the parameters and changed the funding methodology, he said.
“The Government claims that that will fix many of our problems. We don’t believe it will, but only the next couple of years is going to tell.”