Skip to content
Skip to navigation

Services and places in aged care

Australia’s aged care system provides care for people either in their own homes or in a residential facility. The Australian Government sets targets for the number of aged care places—both residential and home care—per 1,000 of the population aged 70 years and over. This is done to ensure there is enough capacity in the aged care system as Australia’s population ages.

  • The number of aged care places is increasing—there were 1.4 times as many places in 2016 as in 2006.

  • Over the last decade, the majority of aged care places have been in residential aged care, but the number of places in home care has increased at a higher rate. There was more than twice the number of home care places in 2016 than in 2006, compared with 1.2 times more for residential aged care. This can be seen in the graph below.

  • Occupancy rates were highest in residential care (92%) over the 2015–16 financial year, followed by transition care (88%), and the lowest in home care (83%). Occupancy rates are an indication of how close the care system is to full capacity. They are calculated by adding together the total number of days that all people spent in care over the year, and dividing by the total number of places that were available across the year.

  • Home care is offered at four different levels beginning with basic care in Level 1 through to the highest level of care in Level 4. In 2016, the majority of home care places were in Level 2.

  • In 2016, most aged care services were run by not-for-profit organisations (65%). Most privately-owned aged care services were in cities, and government services were predominant in remote areas (See the Explore pages for more information).

  • In addition to aged care places and packages, around 640,000 older people were assisted in their home under the Commonwealth Home Support Program during 2015–16, along with around 290,000 older people in Victoria and Western Australia under the Home and Community Care program. (Note that these programs are not further reported in this section.)

How is the number of aged care places determined?


The Australian Government sets targets for the number of aged care places per 1,000 of the population aged 70 years and over. This is done to ensure there is enough capacity in the aged care system as Australia’s population ages. On 30 June 2016, there were 113.2 places in aged care for every 1,000 people aged 70 years and over in Australia. This has gone up from 111.5 in 2015. The Australian Government target is to have 125 places across residential care, home care, and flexible care services per 1,000 people in the target population by 2021–22.

These aged care places are provided in residential care facilities and in home care. Some places are provided within flexible care programs which provide care for people with particular needs either in residential facilities or in the home. Transition care provides residential and home care places to care for older people after a long hospital stay.
 

Who delivers aged care services?


Aged care services can be delivered by not-for-profit organisations, government organisations, or private companies. For most aged care places, the Australian Government contributes towards the costs of care—you can read more about this in the Spending section.

In the next section you can explore more about places in aged care services, including how these are distributed between the states and territories, and the role of different types of organisations providing these services.