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Residents more likely to have a physical disability than psychosocial condition


Most aged care residents are aged 85 or over and 97 per cent of all residents have a disability, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report released this week.

The report, Australians living in residential aged care, looks at the characteristics of older people in care and is based the 2015 ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

It found there were 201,900 people living in residential care in 2015, up from 163,500 people in 2009.

Most of these older people lived in aged care facilities or cared components of retirement living villages (93 per cent), with the remainder living in group homes for people living with a disability (4 per cent) or hospitals and psychiatric institutions (3 per cent).

The report focused on the 187,300 people receiving care in aged care facilities or retirement villages.

It found that 68 per cent of residents were women, which reflects that on average, Australian women live longer than men, the report said.

Most residential aged care recipients were aged 85 or over (59 per cent) while 66 per cent of female residents and 45 per cent of male residents were 85 years or more.

Nearly all of the aged care residents had a form of disability (97 per cent), which the ABS defines as any limitation, restriction or impairment where a person requires assistance with everyday activities.

Almost 90 per cent of residents had a physical disability, such as chronic pain or incomplete use of arms and legs, while 74 per cent of residents had a psychosocial disability, such as problems with memory or behaviour.

Men were more likely to have had a stroke (29 per cent) than women (18 per cent).

Half of residents have dementia, and the proportion of residents living with dementia including Alzheimer’s disease goes up with age, the report shows.

The prevalence of dementia increases from almost one quarter of all men and women residents aged 50-64 years to 50 per cent of male and 54 per cent of female residents aged 85 years and over.

In a recent ABS report on deaths in Australia, deaths from dementia continues to be the leading cause of death among women, and the second leading cause of death among all Australians behind heart disease.

Access the report, Australians living in residential aged care here.

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2 Responses to Residents more likely to have a physical disability than psychosocial condition

  1. Felicity Chapman November 11, 2018 at 5:11 pm #

    Interesting definition of ‘psychosocial condition’. My understanding is that psychosocial relates to loneliness, grief, and loss; not just problems with memory and behaviour. It’s true that not all residents have depression, or even sub clinical presentations of distress, but I would suggest that a good number have a ‘psychosocial condition’ BECAUSE of physical disability. If that hasn’t been done yet, that would be a useful thing to investigate – is there a correlation between physical disability and emotional and psychological distress (including sub clinical forms not easily detected on the Cornell or GDS)? It’s good that aged care is getting more attention generally but so much more is needed to be done.

  2. Caroline Romeo November 12, 2018 at 11:33 pm #

    A summary of the report above establishes that “Most of these older people lived in aged care facilities or cared components of retirement living villages (93 per cent), with the remainder living in group homes for people living with a disability (4 per cent) or hospitals and psychiatric institutions (3 per cent). The report focused on the 187,300 people receiving care in aged care facilities or retirement villages.”

    I am slightly perplexed by the ABS Survey which includes RVs. What sets RVs apart from other non-RACFs? The typical home care package recipient has low to high levels of physical disability including cognitive losses and psychosocial losses (in terms of mental health, social and emotional health). The level and proportion of people living with a disability at home is on the rise but often associated with the process of ageing.

    People with disability living at home are ageing and will present a newer experience of support and care.

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