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Spending on aged care services in 2008-09 was $10.1 billion, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report Residential aged care in Australia 2008-09, shows that an estimated $6.6 billion (of the $10.1 billion) was spent on residential aged care, with the Australian Government the dominant funder (estimated $6.5 billion).

‘The majority of permanent aged care residential places are for those requiring a high level of care, with three-quarters of permanent residents assessed as needing high-care at 30 June 2009,’ said Vicki Bennett, of the AIHW’s Continuing and Specialised Care Group.

Government allocation of residential aged care places is in line with this need, with high-care places outnumbering low-care (3,765 and 1,983 respectively).

‘Overall, residential aged care provision has continued to rise,’ Ms Bennett said.

‘At 30 June 2009, there were more than 178,000 operational residential places in Australia—over 3,000 more than at the same time in 2008.’

The provision ratio at 30 June 2009 for residential aged care places was 87.0 places per 1,000 people aged 70 years or more; close to the Government’s target of 88 places per 1,000 by June 2011.

‘The increase in residential aged care places can be attributed to, and is designed to cater for, Australia’s ageing population,’ Ms Bennett said.

Among the residents, women outnumbered men by more than 2 to 1, and most residents were in the older age categories, with over half (55%) of all residents in 2009 aged 85 or over.

Usage rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged under 65 were considerably higher than for their counterparts in the non-Indigenous population.

A second report, Aged care packages in the community: a statistical overview, also released today, examines alternatives to residential aged care, whereby older Australians receive care in their own homes and communities.

Analysis of Community Aged Care Packages (CACP), Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH), and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACH D), reveals that the supply of places has increased across all three packages.

‘More than 1 in every 3 clients receiving community aged care was born overseas and a higher proportion of people from a non-English-speaking background used community aged care services compared with those from an English-speaking background,’ Ms Bennett said.

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also used more community aged care services than their non-Indigenous counterparts.’

Thursday 9 December 2010

Further information: Vicki Bennett, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5082, mob. 044 887 2799

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

Full report: Residential aged care in Australia 2008-09: a statistical overview  

Full report: Aged care packages in the community: a statistical overview