Community care packages help people who are eligible for entry into residential aged care to stay in the community, by providing them with help in their own homes. There are three types of packages covered in this report: Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) for people with low-care needs, Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages for people with high-care needs and the more flexible EACH Dementia packages for people with behavioural problems or psychological symptoms associated with dementia.

Increased availability, especially for people with dementia

The EACH and EACH Dementia programs were still small (4,244 and 1,996 operational packages) at 30 June 2008 compared to the CACP program (40,280) but were expanding rapidly. During 2007-08 there were 725 new EACH Dementia packages (an increase of 57%), 942 new EACH packages (an increase of 29%) and 2,283 new CACPs (an increase of 6%).

Availability of high-care packages is more limited in Remote and Very remote areas. The new high-care packages included six new EACH packages in Remote areas and the first five EACH packages in Very remote areas.

The Australian Government plans to increase the number of packages to 25 care packages per thousand by 2010-11, with 4 in 25 to be packages for people with high-care needs. By the end of 2007-08, there were 23.3 community care packages for every 1,000 people aged 70 and over, and 3.4 in every 25 were for people with high-care needs.

How many people receive help from a community aged care package?

At 30 June 2008, almost 37,000 people were receiving help from a CACP, almost 3,900 people were getting help from an EACH package and around 1,600 people from an EACH Dementia package.

However, higher numbers of people received help from these packages over the course of the year: around 53,250 people received a CACP at some time during 2007-08, and around 5,900 people and 2,650 people received help from EACH and EACH Dementia packages respectively.

Older overseas-born people used more community aged care services

People born in non-English-speaking countries made relatively high use of care package services compared to Australian-born and people born overseas in English-speaking countries. Combined care package use by people born in non-English-speaking countries was 21.7 per 1,000 for those aged 75-84 years and 58.2 per 1,000 for those 85 years or older, compared with 6.6 and 44.0 per 1,000 respectively for Australian-born care recipients and

15.7 and 46.5 per 1,000 respectively for people born overseas in English-speaking countries. The main non-English-speaking countries of birth for CACP recipients were Italy, Poland and the Netherlands.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' use of packages was highest

Use of packages by Indigenous Australians was higher than for overseas-born people from non-English-speaking countries. Usage by Indigenous people aged 65-74 years was 44.2 per 1,000 and 95.0 per 1,000 for those aged 75 and older. Overall, Indigenous people over 50 years used community aged care packages at over 3 times the rate of other Australians.