Aged care services provided in residential aged care facilities are an important resource for older Australians, including those with dementia. Residential aged care services are particularly important for those in the advanced stages of dementia who need ongoing care, as well as accessible accommodation. People with dementia living in residential aged care have specific care needs that differ to the care needs of others living in residential aged care, such as wandering behaviours, cognition issues and difficulties in undertaking daily activities such as toileting, eating meals, and mobility.
This page uses Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) data to present information on people with dementia who were living in permanent residential aged care in 2019–20, by:
This page also presents how the number and age-standardised rate of people with dementia and people without dementia living in permanent residential aged care has changed between 2015–16 and 2019–20 (skip to this section).
A snapshot of people in permanent residential care on 30 June 2020 showed that ACFI data captures almost all people in permanent residential aged care (over 97% had a current ACFI appraisal) (AIHW 2020a). See Box 10.3 for more information on the ACFI.
Over half of people living in permanent residential aged care have dementia
In 2019–20, there were over 244,000 people living in permanent residential aged care, and 54% of these people had dementia (about 132,000 people). In 2019–20, of those living in permanent residential aged care:
- Over half of both women (54% or nearly 85,700) and men (54% or over 46,200) had dementia.
- Men tended to be younger than women, irrespective of whether or not they had dementia.
- Both men and women with dementia were slightly older (aged 84 and 87 on average, respectively) than those without dementia (average of 82 and 86 years).
- 1 in 3 people aged under 65 (33% or 2,000 people) had dementia (known as younger-onset dementia when aged under 65).
- Unlike those with dementia at older ages where women outnumber men, there were more men with younger-onset dementia than women (about 1,100 men and 900 women) (Figure 10.7).
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in its interim report made a high priority recommendation that all people under the age of 65 currently living in residential aged care facilities should be moved out of residential aged care and into other, more appropriate care types (Royal Commission 2019). Through the Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy 2020–25, the Australian Government has committed to ensure that apart from exceptional circumstances, no person under the age of 65 lives in residential aged care. See Younger people in residential aged care for the most recent data available to track progress being made towards these targets.