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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Research on Indigenous aged care and life expectancy sheds doubt on current policy

Date posted: 18 April 2012

A recent study led by researchers at universities around Australia has produced results suggesting that Indigenous Australians may not be ageing prematurely, an outcome that has worried Indigenous aged care providers.

Authors from Charles Darwin University, the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and Menzies School of Health Research, published detailed research examining the implications of life expectancy and health conditions of older Indigenous people for health and aged care policy.

This has cast doubt on the assumptions behind Federal Government policy, which uses a demographic of 50 years and over for population-based planning for Indigenous Australians. This is compared with 70 years and over for non-Indigenous Australians.

While aged care service researchers and providers do not dispute the research, some worry that a response could lead to fewer funded services, or may result in new bureaucratic requirements, such as more stringent reporting. Obtaining care funding may become more difficult, as there may be those who might be judged as having a chronic rather than an ageing condition.

Philippa Cotter from Charles Darwin University, the study's lead author, said such a policy response would be a misinterpretation of their findings. Indigenous people do not need less services or resources, but do need these to be better targeted, Cotter said.

Source: Aged Care Insite


Philippa R Cotter
The Northern Institute
Charles Darwin University


Last updated: 18 April 2012
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