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Age-friendly housing could reduce hospitalisations among elderly Australians, says report


The Retirement Living Council (RLC) has welcomed findings from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) “Injury in Australia” report, highlighting the benefits of age-appropriate housing for older Australians.

Key findings from the AIHW report include:

  • 296,490 people over 65 presented to emergency departments with injuries in 2022-23
  • The highest likelihood of injury occurs after age 75
  • Falls accounted for 46% of reported hospitalisations for those aged over 75
  • Women aged 80-84 had the highest number of injury-related hospitalisations among female age groups

RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon said the report’s findings should guide government policy on managing both health and housing crises. He noted that 1.4 million Australians over 75 live in homes unsuitable for their ageing needs, leading to increased injuries and hospital visits.

According to Gannon, retirement village residents are:

  • 20% less likely to require hospitalisation after nine months of living in these communities
  • 15% more physically active
  • 41% happier
  • Five times more socially active
  • Twice as likely to catch up with family or friends
  • Experiencing reduced levels of depression and loneliness

These benefits translate to 14,000 avoided annual hospitalisations across Australia and generate $945 million in annual savings for the Australian Government.

Gannon emphasized the need for governments to increase the supply of housing that keeps older Australians healthier and happier for longer, especially in light of the impending demographic “silver tsunami”.

The RLC sees age-friendly communities as a way to minimize older Australians’ interactions with healthcare systems while delaying entry into taxpayer-funded aged care.

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