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Decline in indigenous seniors accessing care

The proportion of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians accessing aged care services has declined in 2018 compared to the previous year, the latest data shows.

Forty-one per cent of indigenous Australians required aged care services in 2017 compared to 37 per cent in 2018, according a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released last week.

For the non-indigenous population, 75 per cent of older Australians were accessing aged care services in 2017, which also decreased, to 69 per cent in 2018.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using aged care report shows the characteristics of indigenous Australians over 50 accessing aged care and home care services for the year ending 30 June 2018.

The report found that there was a greater amount of non-indigenous Australians (69 per cent) requiring residential aged care than the indigenous population (37 per cent) in 2017-18.

It also showed there were currently 123,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or over.

There is a much larger proportion of indigenous Australian males (5 per cent) and females (4 per cent) aged 50-54 accessing aged care services compared to non-indigenous males (0.6 per cent) and females (0.3 per cent), according to the report.

Male indigenous Australians aged 75-79 were the largest age group accessing aged care services (15 per cent) followed by the 70-74 cohort (14 per cent).

The largest group of indigenous females were aged 85-89 (15 per cent) followed by the age groups 70-74 and 75-79 (14 per cent each).

For non-indigenous males in aged care, the most common age was 85-89 (23 per cent) followed by the 80-84 age group (19 per cent) and for non-indigenous females, the largest age group was also 85-89 (26 per cent) closely followed by 90-94 (25 per cent).

Dementia was the most common medical condition of people using aged care services among both the indigenous (49 per cent) and non-indigenous (52 per cent) population.

Depression or other mood was the second most common, at 40 per cent for indigenous Australians and 49 per cent for non-indigenous Australians.

Non-indigenous Australians were more likely to require high care for activities of daily living (59 per cent) and complex health care (53 per cent) than indigenous Australians (55 per cent and 46 per cent).

However indigenous Australians had a slightly higher amount that required high care for cognition and behaviour (65 per cent) compared to the non-indigenous population (64 per cent).

Access the report, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using aged care here.

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