How can we better address age-related health problems such as Dementia and Arthritis?
What’s the problem?
The older you are, the greater your chance of developing certain chronic diseases. And the greater number of older people Australia has, the greater the proportion of the population likely to suffer from these health challenges.
This isn’t just about national interest. Most of us will grow to see old age so taking action to ensure healthy ageing is a move that will ultimately benefit us all.
The older population, just like the young, is very diverse. While caring for our older people is about ensuring the basics of life are covered, it is also about enriching and invigorating day-to-day living.
Poor health greatly reduces quality of life and life expectancy.
Seven things you need to know
In 2054–55, life expectancy at birth is projected to be 95.1 years for men and 96.6 years for women, compared with 91.5 and 93.6 years today.
According to the Department of Social Services, some examples of the most common chronic diseases for older people include: asthma; arthritis; cancer; kidney disease; heart disease; dementia; diabetes; depression; oral disease; osteoporosis and stroke.
342,800 Australians were estimated to have dementia in 2015. Based on projections of population ageing and growth, the number of people with dementia will reach almost 400,000 by 2020, and around 900,000 by 2050.
Over 50% of permanent residents in Australian Government-funded aged care facilities in 2013-14 had a diagnosis of dementia.
About 444,400 Australians aged 55 or more are visually impaired, which represents 9.4% of the 4.7 million Australians in that age group.
The prevalence of both arthritis and osteoporosis increases with age. Fewer than 1% of people aged less than 25 years reported having arthritis, compared with 48% of people aged 65 years or over.
Similarly, less than 1% of people aged less than 25 years have osteoporosis, compared with 16% of people aged 65 years or over.