There is a well-known saying that it takes a whole village to raise a child, but perhaps it is even more true to say that it takes a whole village to care for our older people.
In the future, Australia will have more and more older people as a proportion of the population. This population ageing is due to recent trends in fertility, migration, and life expectancy. These trends will result in the proportion of Australians aged 65 years and over to increase from 14% in 2013 to 23% in 2061.
Making sure there are affordable, accessible and flexible quality aged care services is crucial. As is attracting and retaining qualified and committed aged care worked to provide these services. But caring for the elderly is not just about aged care facilities.
It is also about the wellbeing and involvement of older people in everyday community life. In fact, older people are increasingly opting to remain at home rather than go into residential care, at least for as long as possible.
Their quality of life will be greatly affected by age-related health challenges. The better that we can address challenges such as dementia and arthritis, the longer older people can remain in their home and play an active role in their community.