As elderly Australians are asking for choice in their care decisions, a trend is developing towards Home Care and Supported Living Models for low care scenarios. This is evidenced in home care packages nearly doubling over the last 10 years.

Source (Older Australians At a Glance – Australia Institute of Health and Welfare )

Not only do these options make sense financially and logistically, but they provide better outcomes for the care recipients, who are more at home in their own home than a residential facility.

But does this trend pose a threat to current residential Aged Care Providers?

A quick glance at current data regarding our ageing population shows some interesting trends.

Our elderly population (those aged 65 and over) is tripling over the next 50 years, to represent 22% of our total population. Likewise, those aged 85 and over, now representing 2% of our population, will represent 5% of our population within 50 years.

Based on population projections, Australia can expect upwards of 11 million people aged over 65 by 2061, and over 2 million aged over 85 by the same time. To put this into perspective, currently we have over 3 million people aged over 65, and half a million aged over 85.

Source (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3222.0 – Population Projections, Australia,  2012 to 2101)

 

What do these figures suggest?

Firstly, the industry has only growth ahead. With the speed that our population is expected to age, the demand for residential positions will increase, most likely, faster than providers can supply positions.

Home Care will be a vital industry sector that will service low care cases, which are expected to greatly outpace the capacity of our residential homes. As people remain more independent for longer, Home Care is set to be a dominant portion of the aged care market.

Finally, current residential homes providers will not be hugely impacted by the rise of Home Care, due to the sheer rise in aged population. While the residential sector may not grow as fast as the Home Care sector, it will still experience increased demand overall. However, residential providers will benefit by prioritising the expansion of acute care programs, which will be an area that Home Care Packages are less likely to address.