Around 2,000 people under the age of 65 enter residential aged care every year and around 6,000 young people live in aged care in any year, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.
The number of younger people accessing and living in permanent care has been steady over time, the report looking at the pathways of younger people entering permanent aged care between 2009-10 and 2013-14 found.
Around around half of young people entering aged care for the first time during the period were aged 60-64 and the median age of younger residents was 60 in any year between 2010 and 2014.
More than one in 10 new residents aged under 50 during the five-year period were Indigenous Australians.
Almost a quarter of new younger residents had not used any other aged care service (23 per cent), the report found.
For those who had accessed other aged care services, Home and Community Care was the most common (38 per cent) followed by a combination of HACC and respite services (16 per cent).
Almost 40 per cent of younger people who entered permanent residential aged care in 2013–2014 were still living there on 30 June 2018.
More than 20 per cent of younger people who entered aged care between 2009-10 to 2013-14 stayed fewer than six months. The median length of stay was three years, but younger age groups had shorter stays on average than those aged 60-64.
The most common reason for exiting residential aged care was death (59 per cent) followed by moving to another facility (17 per cent).
The report also found that more than 23 per cent of younger people had an activity limitation in all four core activities, which includes self-care, communication, movement between locations, and moving and walking around. These core activities are commonly used to measure disability, the report said.
Most younger people were limited in self-care (90 per cent), which refers to daily tasks such as eating, getting dressed and requiring supervision or assistance.
The top three main health conditions behind younger people entering aged care were dementia, cancer and cerebrovascular disease. Dementia was relatively less common among people aged under 50, however this age cohort had other progressive neurological conditions, the report said.
Access the Pathways of younger people entering permanent residential aged care report here.
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