Older Australians - living longer and contributing more

Life expectancy among older Australians has continued to increase. Australian men and women at 65 years of age can expect, on average, to live for another 16 and 20 years respectively-an increase of 3.5 years for men and 4 years for women over the last 30 years. These facts and more can be found in a joint Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care publication Older Australians at a Glance released today as part of the International Year of Older Persons. The report also shows that many older Australians are making a valuable contribution to the Australian Community. Of all voluntary work done, 33% were contributions from people aged 55 and over. On retirement, 61% of women and 44% of men indicated that they planned to do voluntary work.

Head of the AIHW's Aged Care Unit, Dr Diane Gibson, said that most older Australians enjoy active lifestyles and reasonably good health status.

'The majority of older Australians rate their health as either good, very good or excellent,' Dr Gibson said. 'Contrary to general public perceptions only 6% of older Australians live in residential aged care facilities, with the vast majority living at home.'

Older Australians at a Glance includes information on: population ageing, health and wellbeing of older Australians, their contribution in providing care to the community, and their use of health and aged care services. It also takes into account retirement, income and housing, and many other aspects of life among older Australians, and examines government responses to their needs.

24 December 1999


Further information: Dr Diane Gibson, ph. 02 6244 1190, or Dr Ching Choi, ph. 02 6244 1197.
For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, ph. 02 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW for details.