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In Australia, the aged care system offers a range of care options to meet the different care needs of each individual. Two mainstream care options are available for older people: residential aged care and community-based aged care.
Often people first enter the aged care system through community-based care, before eventually progressing to permanent residential care. Respite care in a residential aged care facility can also be a step along the way to permanent care.
Residential aged care provides care within a supported accommodation setting for those whose care needs can no longer be met within their own homes. There are two types of care offered in residential aged care facilities:
From 2015, two main programs deliver community-based care for older Australians:
In addition to these mainstream options, there are several flexible care programs which provide care for special groups or circumstances in mixed settings. These include the Transition Care Program, the Multi-Purpose Services Program and the Veteran's Home Care Program. More information on these programs is available from Aged care in Australia.
However, caring for older people and people with disability in the community often depends on the availability of informal carers to take on a caring role. These are unpaid carers (family, friends, or neighbours) who have assumed responsibility for another's physical, emotional, or developmental wellbeing.
of the Australian population aged 65 and over, or 270,559 people, were in residential aged care at some point over the 2013–14 financial year.
of the Australian population aged 65 and over, or 83,481 people, received home care at some point over the 2013–14 financial year.
Government-subsidised operational places were available in Australian aged care at 30 June 2014, a 3.5% increase from the previous year.
people in permanent residential aged care at 30 June 2014 (69%) were women. The average age for women was 85.8, compared to 81.6 for men.
More detailed information about Australia's aged care system can be found in the AIHW's annual web reports on aged care:
My Aged Care is the Australian Government's online gateway to access Australian Government-funded aged care. My Aged Care provides information on the cost and accessibility of aged care, the services and providers available, and how to navigate the aged care system.
If you have a specific requirement for data or statistics not covered by any of our reports or online data, you can request customised aged care data from the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse (NACDC), a central, independent repository of national aged care data based at the AIHW. NACDC's data holdings cover programs delivered to older Australians both in the community and in a residential care setting.