The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its latest data which shows an encouraging trend. The Australian assessed that in the 12 months leading up to September 2021, Australians under 65 residing permanently in residential aged care facilities dropped from 4,600 to 3,700, a decline of 20%. Those aged under 45 living in aged care facilities declined by 24%, lowering from 120 to 91.
Further into the AIHW findings are the sub-groups underpinning the numbers. Of the younger persons residing permanently in aged care facilities – many have experienced catastrophic injury or are living with a severe disability – these groups also saw a drop in numbers in aged care facilities across each state and territory.
“The Australian government has set targets to have no people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022, and under the age of 65 by 2025, other than in exceptional circumstances,” AIHW spokeswoman Louise York conveyed.
Core to the decline in numbers is that a reduced amount of persons aged under 65 are taking up permanent residence in aged care settings.
Between July and September 2021, only 151 people aged under 65 entered permanent residential facilities, a 30% decline from the same period of time the previous year.
Highlighting a policy move that has become one of the core facets of the government’s approach to aged care, the interim report from October 2019 issued by the aged care royal commission overseen by Lynell Briggs and Tony Pagone, clearly advanced the need for “immediate action to stop the flow of younger people with a disability going into aged care, and speed up the process of getting out those young people who are already in aged care”.
This call contributed to the formation of a five-year government initiative announced in September 2020.
As of September 2021, males made up 53% of younger people residing in aged care facilities.
Furthermore, 2% were between the ages of 18 and 44, while six in 10 fell between the ages of 60 and 64.
Around 10% of those under the age of 65 identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.