Where Will I Live as I Age?
Senior Australians’ Needs and Concerns about Future Housing and Living Arrangements
One important aspect of the wellbeing of mature age Australians is their ability to, where possible, remain living independently in adequate and affordable housing. Hence, an understanding of their needs and concerns regarding future housing and living arrangements is important to achieve this aim.
Using data from the National Seniors Social Survey Wave 2 conducted amongst National Seniors members aged 50 years and over, this report analyses respondents’ concerns and steps taken to plan for getting older, thoughts about higher care needs, and issues surrounding affordability of alterations to the family home and residential care costs.
A joint project between National Seniors Australia and Group Homes Australia, the report results confirm the findings from previous studies that the majority of mature age Australians would prefer to live in their own home as they grow old. However, only about one third have plans in place to prepare for getting older and becoming frailer.
Furthermore, a significant number of those who intend to remain in their own home have houses that do not not have any design features to assist frail people and do not think they could afford appropriate improvements.
As the authors state, “…the findings suggest that there is a significant disconnect between the stated desire of many Australians to age in their own home and their ability to do so.” Important issues surrounding the affordability of aged care will be key to help offset increasing aged care costs due to population ageing in future.
The report reveals that just one in four respondents believe they could afford the costs of aged care, while 40% of respondents simply do not know if they could afford their aged care costs in the future, which suggests there may be insufficient planning on the part of many seniors.
Interestingly, there is significant support for a co-contribution model of aged care funding that is means tested with a contribution on behalf of the person receiving the care. The 18 months prior to this report's release saw significant activity in aged care reform, with the release of the Productivity Commission’s report Caring for Older Australians and the Government’s response with the Living Longer Living Better package. This report sheds further light on key issues that need to be considered in planning for the living arrangements of senior Australians in future decades.
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