The terrible reality of how far people have to travel to access aged care

How far do people move to access aged care?

New research shows many people in non-metropolitan regions move more than 100 kilometres, or drive for more than 60 minutes, from their home when they begin permanent residential aged care or use respite in an aged care facility.

The research, which was conducted by the Office of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, is based on people accessing aged care services on 30 June 2019. The findings are presented in Research Paper 16 – How far do people move to access aged care? which is available on the Royal Commission’s website.

In regional and rural areas the share of people that moved over 100 kilometres to enter permanent residential care varied between 10% and 16%. The share increased to 34% among the people who had been living in remote regions and 53% among those who had been living in very remote regions.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tended to move further than other people to enter residential aged care if they were living in metropolitan or rural areas, but moved less distance if they were living in remote or very remote regions.

Younger people living in residential aged care facilities tended to have moved further than older people in all regions except for very remote communities.

The research used data that is routinely collected by the Department of Health and could be updated annually to assist with planning to make aged care services more accessible to people in different communities.

The research paper was prepared for the information of the Royal Commissioners and the public. Any views expressed in the paper are not necessarily the views of the Commissioners.

To read the Royal Commission’s research papers, please visit the publications page.

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