happy senior couple hugging in the forest
Photo: Gustavo Fring

If you are reading this, chances are that you are looking to get yourself or someone else admitted to an aged care center. Or you work in the aged care industry and are planning ahead for your career. In any case, it is an intelligent move to explore the future of the aged care industry and put your plans in place ahead of time.

This makes sense because, after COVID-19, you can never be sure about the future of your health or career. Your older self might get seriously ill or injured and may not be able to make decisions, or your current industry might give in under the weight of changing economic landscape, leaving you jobless.

Or it’s maybe because you simply love caring for older people!

Whatever your reasons are, we believe aged care is here to stay, and our thoughts are backed by the following reasons.

Old people will always need care.

It’s no surprise that the world’s population is aging – for example, in Australia, the national median age is 37 years, and the current life expectancy of average males and females stands at 80 years. Australia’s remarkable health system is the primary enabler of this longevity and truly deserves all the credit for this.

However, while living longer is good, it is also a responsibility and liability towards the state. Because living longer essentially means that we are likely to have complex healthcare requirements in the later stages of our lives. As a result, an older Aussie is very likely to need home help or be admitted to a well-equipped aged care facility.

These are not random assumptions; these are facts. A major chunk of 5.5 million baby boomers are now entering their retirement years. In fact, almost 1/3 of them have already crossed the official retirement age (65).

Further, a government report from 2015 predicts that the number of Aussies 65 years and over will double from 3.6 million today to 8.9 million in the next 30 years. That is a lot of old Australians to take care of!

a picture of a wild flower bouquete in the hands of happy woman
Photo: Gustavo Fring

Aged care is a mega-industry.

Let’s continue with the example of the Australian population; another good reason to believe in the Australian aged care industry's future is its sheer size.

Aged care in Australia is a whopping $21 billion+ industry that employs nearly 300,000 staff across roughly 2000 businesses (non-profit, private, & government-funded), taking care of almost 1 million old Australians (including home care and residential aged care).

Logically speaking, such a massive industry that provides care to millions of old people and employees hundreds of thousands can’t just disappear (at least not in the foreseeable future). Caring for older Australians is an increasingly important source of employment and will continue to grow for the coming decades.

However, with growth comes both opportunity and difficulty. While the industry is undoubtedly benefiting from automation and technology advancements, it still suffers from poor management practices, stressful work environments, and inadequate staff numbers. While the government and NGOs are making serious efforts to counter this, it’s useful to keep this in mind when thinking about a career in aged care.

happy senior couple is hugging in the forest
Photo: Gustavo Fring

The government and the people take it very seriously.

In recent years, the Australian Government has taken aged and home care of old people very seriously and invested $21 billion in Commonwealth-funded aged care services alone.

A crucial positive development has been the revised Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) standards, where the government has worked hard to establish and improve the condition of aged care facilities all over the country.

Besides the government, the compassionate people of Australia have also come forward to make a difference at an individual and organizational level. More and more people are taking up jobs that directly affect their loved ones and help them play their part in the service of those who can't take care of themselves.

Also, in September 2019, 121 CEOs and executives from 112 aged care providers came together to create the ‘The Perspectives on the Future of Ageing’ report and submitted it to the Royal Commission.

This report discusses major issues and offers help in drafting policies related to aged care facilities. It has been an impactful contribution to the ongoing debate about the future of the aged care industry and what needs to be done about it.

All of this shows that the people and government have not forgotten our elders, and their health and care will always be prioritized no matter what.

Takeaway

Is the aged care industry here to stay? Definitely! The sheer size of the industry, a growing elderly population, and serious efforts to improve the industry by the government and civil society all point towards a bright aged care scene in Australia and beyond.

Lots of love,
Liz