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Good health not only helps older Australians to enjoy a good quality of life and to participate fully in the community, but also helps to reduce their demands for health and aged care services. This is important as Australia’s population ages over coming decades. For this reason, improving older people’s health is a national research priority in Australia. One area of special interest is the adoption of a healthy lifestyle at older ages because its benefits include preventing disease and functional decline, and promoting a longer life and a better quality of life.

Current data show that older Australians today have a longer life expectancy and are generally healthier than previous generations in a range of aspects. This section provides information about older Australians for the following areas: their life expectancy, self assessed health status, common health conditions and diseases, health risks and leading causes of death. ‘Older Australians’ here refers to those aged 65 years and over—at 30 June 2012, 3.2 million Australians were aged 65 and over (constituting 14% of the population) and 423,700 people were aged 85 and over (1.9% of the population). Women accounted for 54% of people aged 65 and over and 65% of people aged 85 and over.

Australia's health 2012 (Various chapters)

Australia's welfare 2013 (Chapter 6)

In this subject

Current information

The AIHW produces authoritative and comprehensive publications about key health and welfare issues in Australia.

Ageing research projects

These are projects funded by the Office for an Ageing Australia, aimed at improving the evidence base for promoting healthy ageing. This work includes support for the Ageing Research Online website, a report on longitudinal studies in Australia which are relevant to ageing, and a number of specific research projects relevant to healthy ageing. Of these a bulletin on obesity in older Australians and another on vision problems have been published.