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Baby Boomers will lead the charge to change in aged care: research

New research suggests that the baby boomer generation will be a force for change in the way we care for older Aussies.

The boomer generation, aged between 56 to 74, will want bang for their buck when it comes to aged care and want services to provide good food, travel and wellness support.

The research, carried out by RSL LifeCare, took the temperature of 1,000 Baby boomers across the country and found that this group will likely shun residential care, and attitudes towards aged care have changed for the worse due to the pandmeic.

“Our research shows when care is needed, more than three quarters (78 per cent) of baby boomers want to stay in their own homes with occasional nursing visits," said RSL LifeCare chief executive, Graham Millett.

"Only three per cent want to enter communal aged care in its current format. This number has tripled in the last year.

"COVID has likely further validated people’s attitudes towards aged care services. Today, almost a quarter of Baby boomers feel more negatively towards residential aged care than they did before the pandemic hit, while 14 per cent feel more positive towards occasional home visits."

Unsurprisingly, most boomers want to stay at home if, and when, they need to access aged care. More than three quarters (78 per cent) want to live independently and only three per cent want to enter residential care in its current format.

Living at home for longer is more of an option for boomers: as a society we are living longer, and are in better health, than ever before. Going by the survey, 91 per cent of older Aussies believe their overall wellbeing is good, very good or excellent, while 84 per cent rate their physical health on the same scale and 89 per cent believe they’re in good mental health.

The research found that 63 per cent of baby boomers didn't know how much aged care will cost them, but three in five expect to fund retirement from their super.

The boomers are generally unsure of the aged care system, only 16 per cent of those surveyed believe that aged care is "very good or excellent". 

The large majority of boomers (39 per cent) say that aged care is "less than satisfactory or poor".

The most important thing for the boomer generation in terms of aged care, is that they are "well fed, well supported, and well-travelled", the survey found.

Millett said that the findings give providers a good insight into ways they can meet the demands of future generations of aged care residents.

“As more Australians begin their aged care journey through uptake of home care services, before transitioning to residential aged care, providers can work with clients to assist along that continuum of care,” he said.

Boomers currently make up 25 per cent of the Australian population, while more than 3.8 million Aussies are aged over 65, a figure set to rise to 8.8 million by 2057, and it is increasingly apparent that future generations won't settle for below par care.

“Three quarters of baby boomers want to begin aged care services with occasional or full-time visits within their own home, compared to 4 per cent who would like communal residential aged care as their first step,” Millett said.

“This is the generation that doesn’t want to age like their parents and grandparents. They want to balance lifestyle and socialising with personalised high-quality care, delivered on their terms.”

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