If people who need care can access that care close to where they live, it can be easier for them to maintain social connection with family and friends and receive informal support from these people. This also helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain connection with Country.

This paper examines estimates of the drive distance and time that people move or travel to use residential care, residential respite and home care. The estimates are for people receiving these services at 30 June 2019. The estimates give an indication of how well aged care services were positioned for the needs of different regions or groups of people, noting people may have moved for a variety of reasons other than the accessibility of aged care.

Key findings:

  • Almost all people who were living in metropolitan areas stayed within metropolitan areas when they entered residential care. In other areas there are significant shares of people who moved to a less remote area when they need to use residential care.
  • Over a third of people who lived in remote communities, and over half the population who lived in very remote communities, moved more than 100 kilometres to enter residential aged care. Many of these people moved much further than 100 kilometres.
  • Younger people living in residential aged care facilities tended to have moved further to enter residential care than older people in all regions except for very remote communities.
  • Only a small portion of the people who were accessing home care had moved between the time they were assessed as needing care and when they began to receive home care. Most of these people moved 25 kilometres or less.

How far people move to access aged care could be routinely estimated in the future using data that is administratively collected by the government. This data is collected for all people who use aged care services and could become a stronger indicator if reasons for moving were collected. Such information could assist with future planning and development of aged care services in Australia.

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Research Paper 16