What Australia’s Ageing Population Means for Health Care Professionals

Group of elderly australians smiling

A declining birth rate and longer life expectancy are the major contributing factors for Australia’s ageing population. The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts Australia will extend to have 9.6 million people aged 65+ by the year 2064, with 1.9 million of them aged 85+. Effectively, the number of people aged 65+ will double over the next 50 years.

In general longer lives are a positive outcome, however ageing tends to bring with it increased demands on health care as people experience conditions typically associated with older age including hearing loss, arthritis, diabetes and dementia.

In 2013-2014, 40% of hospital stays were for people aged 65+ despite them accounting for only 13% of the overall population.


Older Australians are also more likely to report having a disability, however 4 out 5 of these disabilities were not classed as severe or profound.

In fact the majority of older Australians consider their health to be good and are not prevented from participating in the community.

Australia’s ageing population will have an impact on health professionals and healthcare delivery. It may force a change in the number and skillset of health professionals because the elderly use more and different health services than younger people.

Elderly Australians may be restricted in their access to care due to mobility or transport reasons. As such health care delivery may need to be adapted and health care professionals may be required, for example, to conduct more home visits.

Health services might be encouraged to provide more outreach services or provide increased services via telehealth (phone and internet).

Support services such as allied health may assume a greater role in the provision of services to elderly patients due to increased demand. Technology is also likely to be more utilised to support Australia’s ageing population, for example monitors for Alzheimer’s patients at risk of wandering.

Health care professionals working in aged care will have an increasingly important role in delivering health services and supporting the ageing population.

Although often depicted as a problem, there are some advantages of an ageing population. Longer lives represent greater prosperity and healthier lifestyles. In modern Australia most jobs don’t require physical strength and many older Australians are choosing to remain at work beyond retirement age, or continue to work part-time in semi-retirement allowing them to become self-funded retirees in older age.

Currently Australians aged 50 to 69 hold 40% of the national wealth. Disposable income is spent supporting family, enjoying life and maintaining health often via health services not covered by Medicare. A healthier, more active elderly population also means an increased volunteer workforce.

Advantages of an ageing population will benefit many sectors including tourism, the arts, regenerative health, and care facilities. If you are a medical professional interested in working with the elderly, please view our aged care recruitment services or browse our selection of aged care jobs for your next career opportunity.