The shift from residential aged care to aged care that is provided in the community is continuing, according to new information released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The information, available at www.aihw.gov.au/aged-care/residential-and-community-2012-13/, shows that 25% of government-subsidised aged care places in June 2013 were for community-based care, up from 20% five years ago.
'This is consistent with our understanding that most older Australians prefer to remain in the community as long as possible,' said AIHW spokesperson Mark Cooper-Stanbury.
And the shift is expected to continue, with long-term aged care planning set to see 1 in 3 aged care places allocated to community care by 2025.
At 30 June 2013, nearly 57,000 people were receiving care packages to help them stay living in the community, including more than 14,000 people receiving high-level care. Two in three recipients of community care were women, and two in five were aged 85 years or older.
The residential aged care sector is also growing, but at a slower rate than community-based care-in 2013 there were more than 186,000 places available for residential care, compared with nearly 176,000 five years earlier.
'And there is a shift to fewer, larger residential facilities-in the 10 years to June 2013, the proportion of residential facilities that had 60 or more places rose from 28% to 48%,' Mr Cooper-Stanbury said.
Among permanent aged care residents, over two-thirds were women, although there were more men than women aged under 70.
Indigenous Australians tended to use both mainstream residential aged care services and community aged care at younger ages than non-Indigenous Australians.
'For example, 37% of Indigenous recipients of Community Aged Care Packages were aged under 65, compared with 2% of non-Indigenous recipients in the same age group,' Mr Cooper-Stanbury said.
About one-third of aged care clients at 30 June 2013-around 70,000 people-were born overseas. The representation of overseas-born people in community care (36%) was greater than in permanent residential care (30%).
'For example, people born in Southeast and Northeast Asia used permanent residential aged care at half the rate of those born in Australia,' Mr Cooper-Stanbury said.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.