Australia's aged care 1999-2000

The number of residential aged care places and community aged care packages in Australia has increased by 26,700 over the last six years, from 132,600 places in 1994, according to new reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

This increase is a shift from 93.5 places and packages per 1000 people aged 70 and over, to 94.5 places and packages per 1000 people aged 70 and over.

Residential Aged Care in Australia 1999-00 show that the number of residential aged care places has risen from 131,400 in June 1994 to over 141,200 places in June 2000.

Community Aged Care Packages in Australia 1999-00 reveals that the number of community aged care packages providing services to people in their own homes has also risen from 1,200 packages in June 1994 to over 18,000 packages in June 2000.

Head of the AIHW's Aged Care Unit, Dr Diane Gibson, said that this represented an ongoing expansion of residential aged care places, accompanied by a substantial rise in the number of community aged care packages.

'Community aged care packages aim to help people-who might otherwise be eligible for low levels of residential care-to remain in their own homes by providing personal care, household assistance and other services,' Dr Gibson said.

'And research shows that most older people have a strong preference for remaining in their own homes wherever possible.

'The emphasis on use of community aged care packages is accelerating, with a large rise between June 1999 and June 2000 of 4,400 packages. Over the corresponding year, the number of operational residential places rose by about 500 places.

'The next two years are likely to see a continued expansion of community aged care packages, accompanied by a substantial increase in residential aged care places, if the number of places allocated in the last two approvals rounds are taken as a guide to future provision. In the last two years 10,588 newly approved residential aged care places, and 10,807 community aged care packages, were allocated making a total of 21,395 new allocations.'

The residential care system is catering for an increasingly frail population with the proportion of permanent residents receiving high level care shifting from 58% at 30 June 1998 to 62% at 30 June 2000.

Half of all aged care home residents at 30 June 2000 were 85 years or older. Two in every five people living in aged care homes were women aged 85 and over. By contrast, package recipients were somewhat younger; one-third of community aged care package recipients were aged 85 and over, and 25% were women aged 85 and over. Over 70% of the recipients of both services were women.

Other findings in Community Aged Care Packages in Australia 1999-00 and Residential Aged Care in Australia 1999-00 include:

  • There were 720 outlets providing Community Aged Care Packages at 30 June 2000, with 311 of these being in rural and remote areas. This compares with 3,005 aged care homes providing residential care-1,073 of these are in rural and remote areas.
  • 10,824 clients were admitted to the Community Aged Care Package Program between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2000. About 88,000 clients were admitted to aged care homes, 45,476 for permanent care, and 42,531 for respite care.
  • During the same period, 7,242 clients left the Community Aged Care Package Program, the main reasons being to go to an aged care home (47%) or death (21%).
  • For aged care homes, 87,037 left the program over the 12-month period. For permanent residents, the most common reason for leaving the home was death (81%).
  • Among respite residents, 65% returned to the community, and 14% moved to another aged care home.

18 May 2001


Further information:
Dr Diane Gibson, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1190; mobile 0407 012 520
Media copies of the report: Publications Officer, tel. 02 6244 1032.