By 2037, 20% of us will be over 65 years.
Older Australians are very diverse in their backgrounds, attitudes and where and how they live. Living longer can mean new opportunities and experiences and continuing to contribute to family and community. For some older people there are health and wellbeing challenges.
Having more years gives you time to do new things, explore places and experiences, and continue to contribute to your family and community. The COTA survey of older people in 2018 tells a positive story about ageing.
Most older people feel younger than their actual age and rate their quality of life as high. However, health is seen as a key influence on an older person’s quality of life.
Implications for families and systems
As we age, some of us will have increasing care needs and require support from families and from care systems. Getting older doesn’t just affect the older person’s life, it can also affect others in the family.
Care needs might mean needing a little help around the house to full time care for someone with frailty and dementia, ageing is influencing our lives and our communities.
Caring and Aged Care provides more information on this important issue.
Rights of older Australians
Australians have a range of human rights that are protected by law. The Australian Human Rights Commission addresses complaints and breaches of a person’s human right.
The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights explains what consumers, or someone they care for, can expect when receiving health care. Consumers receiving Australian Government funded aged care services have the right to be properly looked after, treated well, and given high quality care and services.
The rights of consumers are protected by a Charter of Aged Care Rights. These rights provide important protections for older people as they age and require care and support.
Some older Australians with a diverse background may experience multiple barriers to care. This is referred to as intersectionality, see the Caresearch factsheet Intersectionality (180kb pdf). One way of improving access to care is inclusive practice, see the Caresearch factsheet inclusive practice (180kb pdf).
Pathways to dying
As we age, we also come closer to death. As a population we are living longer and dying older. Many older people will experience one or more chronic health conditions.
Common conditions for people over 65 include: arthritis, back problems; heart, stroke and vascular disease; diabetes; and mental and behavioural conditions.
Dementia will be a reality that many older people and their families will face. Three in 10 people over the age of 85 and almost one in 10 people over 65 have dementia.
Page created 01 November 2021