Why more ‘needs to be done’ to help older Australians ‘thrive’ while ageing in place

May 23, 2023
Despite being a favourable option among many retirees, remaining in the family home well into old age comes with its own unique set of financial challenges. Source: Getty Images.

As the older population continues to grow, an increasing number of retirees are opting to stay in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of their own homes for a longer period of time during their later years.

Many older adults who wish to maintain their independence and dignity by ageing in place rely on the assistance of Commonwealth-funded home care packages which have increased in demand over the last decade, with more than 216,000 Australians now accessing the program.

While an extra 9500 Home Care Packages were recently announced recently in the Federal Budget,  National Centre for Healthy Ageing (NCHA) Professor Velandai Srikanth recently told ABC Breakfast’s Fauziah Ibrahim that more needs to be done to address the growing demand among those who wish to age in place.

“I think the step towards increasing Home Support Packages is a good one. But there is a lot of work that needs to be done to try and gear up to provide the kind of care that’s going to be required,” Srikanth said.

“If people want to stay at home for as long as possible and thrive at home their health care needs to be considered.

“The Royal Commission has reported to us that 80 per cent of Australians want to be at home as they get older and thrive at home as successfully as they can, for as long as possible. The Baby Boomers clearly are going to want to stay at home as they get to the point of requiring more care.”

Despite being a favourable option among many retirees, remaining in the family home well into old age comes with its own unique set of financial challenges.

From home modifications to healthcare costs, there are many factors to consider when it comes to ageing in place, which is why it is important for retirees to plan ahead and implement strategies to make the choice financially feasible.

In addition to financial and organisational factors, retirees hoping to age in place should also consider the following:

  • Staying physically active is essential to maintaining your health as you age. Regular exercise can help prevent falls and other health issues, and it can also help you maintain your independence.
  • Social isolation can be a problem for retirees, especially those who live alone. Staying socially active can help prevent depression and other mental health issues.
  • Engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading, doing puzzles, or taking classes. This can help keep your mind sharp and prevent cognitive decline.
  • Technology can make it easier to stay connected with family and friends, access healthcare services, and stay engaged with the world.
  • Many communities offer resources and services specifically designed for seniors, such as transportation services, meal delivery programs, and home health care services.
  • Regular medical check-ups and preventive care can help you stay healthy and catch health issues early.

By taking these factors into account, retirees can ensure that they are prepared to age in place and maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.

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