The number of in-home aged care packages in operation increased by nearly 6,000 from 32,646 in 2005 to 38,564 in 2006 according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The majority of the new packages, which provide services to people who might otherwise require residential care, were Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) which target people with low care needs.
About 900 of the additional packages were Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages which target frail older people with high care needs.
A further 600 were Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACH Dementia) packages which provide help for people who, due to dementia, exhibit behaviours of concern such as agitation, night-time restlessness or wandering.
'The EACH and EACH Dementia programs are still relatively new and are mostly available in major cities and regional areas,' said Ms Ann Peut, Head of the Institute's Ageing and Aged Care Unit.
The provision ratio for all operational packages increased from 17.2 per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over in 2005, to 19.9 in 2006, nearly meeting the 2007 planning target of 20.
The majority (63%) of the 31,803 Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) recipients were aged 80 years and older an increase from 59% in 2000. However, the strongest growth was in those aged 90 years or older who accounted for 15% of package recipients in 2006 compared with 12% six years earlier.
Reflecting their poorer health status and associated need for care services at younger ages, Indigenous care recipients are considerably younger than non-Indigenous care recipients with 5% aged under 50 years and only 44% aged 70 years and over.
'These figures can be compared with less than 1% and 90% respectively for other Australian care recipients,' said Ms Peut.
The report, Aged care packages in the community 2005-06: a statistical overview, is a continuation of the series formerly called Community Aged Care Packages in Australia.
It is the first in the series to provide information about the carer support available to high care EACH and EACH Dementia package recipients. It shows that 90% of EACH recipients and 97% of EACH Dementia package recipients had a carer, most of whom lived with the person they cared for.
The three packages covered in the report - Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACH Dementia) packages - are designed to provide care equivalent to residential aged care in the care recipient's home.