It’s official. Despite enjoying longer lifespans, older Australians are spending less time living in residential aged care and more time living happily and independently at home.

A recent NewsCorp report found that Australia’s total population had doubled since 1968, while the over-65 population has “more than tripled.” Despite this, the average age of entry into residential aged care has risen to 83 years, and many experts are on record as stating that it will continue to rise.

The reason for this unprecedented rise is twofold: the increasingly high cost of living in residential aged care, coupled with the growing availability of professional CAREGivers who can support seniors at home with their care needs whilst also providing companionship.

Traditionally people in residential aged care have lived there for an average of two to three years, but industry observers have noticed that this length of time is getting shorter.

According to founder of Home Instead Australia, Martin Warner, it is easy to see why.

“Naturally older Australians want to continue living independently in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes for as long as possible,” he said. “With in-home care and support services, seniors can achieve this and, consequently, do not need to move into residential aged care. Instead we are seeing a major cultural shift, with seniors choosing to downsize to smaller, more manageable properties – with smaller yards to maintain, safer environments with less steps to navigate and closer to shops and services – rather than moving into traditional nursing or residential aged care homes.”

No doubt the Australian government is pleased with this turn of events, as it is substantially cheaper for older people to remain living in their own home.

NewsCorp reported that in 2015 there were over 275,000 Australians living in residential aged care, while more than three times as many – approximately 900,000 – were receiving home care services.

Despite that, of the annual $15.8 billion aged care budget, residential aged care accounted for roughly two-thirds (i.e. well over $11 billion) with each aged care resident subsidized to the tune of $56,000; while those accessing home care services only cost the government around a quarter of the total bill (about $4 billion).

Could our in-home senior care be a solution for you and your family? Contact your local Home Instead office to learn more.

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