AUSTRALIA’S retirement living sector is delivering age-friendly communities with person-centred services that will keep more older Australians happy, healthy and out of nursing homes, for longer.
Retirement Living Council Executive Director, Daniel Gannon, said Australia’s retirement living sector was “ready, willing and able” to deliver more affordable “healthy ageing” choices for more older Australians.
Mr Gannon said the design, structure and form of age-friendly communities combined with good access to community and care networks provided the best way to significantly reduce two of the biggest risk factors leading to illness and hospitalisation (ie, falls and depression).
“There’s plenty of qualitative and quantitative research from around the world to show that age-appropriate-housing in age-friendly communities not only supports healthy ageing, but that it makes for the most economically sustainable health and wellbeing environment,” Mr Gannon said.
“The congregate housing model built into age-friendly community design can create economies of scale for more efficient delivery of community, health and aged care services. This means new models of care can be more easily integrated within age-friendly communities.”
Mr Gannon said another major benefit was the development of age-friendly communities in the places where people live can release home equity for cash-strapped seniors, while increasing the local housing supply for young families.
Noting most people’s preference is to “age-in-place”, the Productivity Commission said the vast majority of older people in private dwellings was likely to grow as the population ages.
“… to the extent that ageing in place substitutes for other accommodation and care options that receive a greater government subsidy, it may also be aligned with the governments’ fiscal sustainability objectives. Although the care needs are typically higher for residential aged care, ultimately delivering home care requires much less public funding,”said the Productivity Commission.
Mr Gannon said age-friendly communities and person-centred services delivered significant and increasing benefits to all Australian taxpayers, including less use of primary health care services and avoided hospitalisation (and reduced length of stay) for residents, as well as delayed entry into residential aged care.
Research undertaken for the Retirement Living Council supports these findings and shows retirement village residents save governments more than $2.3 billion annually through reduced spending on health and aged care.