Australia has a growing proportion of people aged 65 and over, and we can expect longer lives on average. So how does an ageing population affect health care?

 

Increased life expectancy and lower birth rates mean that as a population, we’re living longer and well into older age. As of June 2020, around 16% of Australia’s total population was 65 or older. This has grown from 12% in 1995, and even more so from 8.3% of the total population in 1970.

 

So given that one in six Australians is over 65 years of age, how is this changing Australia’s health care scene? The great news is that in 2018, around 3 in 4 older Australians reported their health as either good, very good or excellent. In saying this, older Aussies can sometimes have more complex health needs to manage aches, pains and illnesses. 49% in this age group have arthritis, for example.

 

How the ageing population affects health care

The Federal Government’s 2021 Intergenerational Report predicts that the number of Australians aged 65 and over will double to 6.9 million by 2060-61, or 23% of the Australian population. As such, it’s expected that total healthcare expenditure will grow from 19% of total government spending in 2021­22 to 26% by 2060-61.

 

Fortunately, health care and aged care are looking ahead with long-term planning to meet these growing needs. Services such as increased funding for public hospitals, self-care support and quality residential aged care will help to support Australians’ independence and wellbeing as we grow older in greater numbers. Memory support units and quality dementia care will also be expanded as the need for these services increases.

 

Tips for maintaining great health in older years

You know the saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There’s so much we can do to maintain our independence and wellbeing as we age, and it’s the small incremental things we do daily that can make a big difference. Our care at Aurrum Aged Care locations is based on this approach.

 

As much as possible, follow these tips for general health and wellbeing.

 

  • Keep active in a variety of ways
    Diverse physical activity can help to maintain or even improve balance, strength, mental health and general wellbeing. Yoga, strength training and gardening can all be effective – and a lot of fun!
  • Keep social
    Regular conversations and social interactions are so important for general health and wellbeing, and strong relationships can even add years to one’s life. Classes and workshops are all brilliant opportunities to connect socially.
  • Keep eating fresh, nutritious food
    The food we fuel our bodies should be fresh, rich in protein, vitamins and minerals – and of course, tasty. Nutrition is so important that we have dieticians working closely with our chefs to develop menus that meet the specific dietary needs and preferences of each resident at Aurrum Aged Care.
  • Keep learning new things
    It’s just as important to support a healthy mind and spirit as it is to support healthy bodies. Using opportunities to learn new skills and information can help to build new brain cells and form new connections in the brain, as well as improve general happiness!

 

Of course, each person’s health and wellbeing is entirely unique. This is why we develop a bespoke aged care plan with each and every resident at Aurrum Aged Care. If you’d like to know more about making the move to residential aged care in NSW and Victoria, read our Guide to Aged Care or speak with our friendly team today.