For a proportion of people, a long life comes with chronic illnesses, disability, or physical or cognitive decline. Some of them will require different levels of intervention to get on with their daily life. Aged care (known outside Australia as long term care, elder care, or social care) is the set of institutions that offers care interventions for the elderly in absence of cure.
Population ageing means more people will require care and support. Much of it will be provided informally by family, but increasingly it will take the shape of formal aged care. Policy stakeholders in many countries have taken notice. Those in Australia are no exception – a landmark review in 2011 by the Productivity Commission has led to what will be a decade-long set of reforms. And many stakeholders are participating in a public and private discourse about the evolution of the system (see part 1 in brief 2 for summary of groups).
In this setting, it is crucial to encourage an informed debate about the building blocks of an effective care system. This is one of two briefs offering an accessible overview of aged care policy in Australia, combining a broad range of data and latest insights, and capturing the ongoing conversation between policy and academia, particularly relating to CEPAR research.
This first top-down research brief introduces the policy setting and looks at demand and funding of formal and informal care. The second brief takes a bottom-up approach by considering practical issues relating to the industry, workforce, access and quality of care.