Contemporary Issues in Gerontology: Promoting Positive Ageing

By V. Minichiello; I. Coulson | Go to book overview

9

Delivery of care for older people

Lyndall Spencer

It is widely acknowledged today that the provision of services to older persons represents a significant financial impost on societies in the developed world. The World Health Organization (WHO 2000) indicates that countries such as Canada, Australia, the United States and Japan are striving to meet the triple challenges of assuring quality of care, guaranteeing equity of access to services for potential users while, at the same time, attempting to be cost effective and use their nations' taxpayer-funded resources to best possible effect.

A related issue concerns the rise in the number of older people as a proportion of the whole population. In Australia, for example, the National Strategy for an Ageing Australia (Bishop 1999a, b) indicated that the ageing of the population has accelerated in the past two decades and is projected to rise further over the next 30 years. In addition, the greatest increase is occurring in the very old, those aged 85 years and over (Kinnear 2001). While this does not necessarily signify a problem, Mason et al (2001) indicate that the probability of entering an aged care home after turning 65 is 0.42 for women and 0.24 for men. Further, Liu (1998) commented that almost all women over 90 years and many extremely old men will do so. Thus aged care policy makers, managers of residential facilities and members of the wider community need to be prepared for future increases in service demand with a concomitant rise in associated costs. This challenge is

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