The Northern Rivers region has been identified as one of the greatest areas of growth with an ageing demographic.
It is projected that the majority of the Northern Rivers population will be aged between 50 and 90 years of age in 2027 compared to a majority of people aged between 20 and 45 years of age for NSW as a whole.
In particular, there are a significantly larger number of Tweed residents aged over 60 years compared to the NSW average. This will have a considerable bearing on the level of demand for different kinds of goods and services.
By 2020 it is expected there will be 4.2 million people over 65 years old in Australia, and our community will be seriously challenged to meet the demand for services and places in Residential Care Facilties. As a result health planners are increasing the range of services delivered in homes and programs that support people to age well in their own homes will increasingly be funded. A very fast growing sector on the north coast is, as a result, that of aged care in the community. There will also increasingly be emphasis on managing very frail older people at home through programs like “Hospital at Home”.
One of the challenges facing this region will be that of retaining sufficent numbers of appropriately skilled workers to service residential care facilities for older Australians and the rapidly expanding community care sectors. It is also aniticpated that ancillary and Allied Health Services will have great difficulty developing the capacity to meet the needs of this ageing population.
Services such as Home Modification and Maintenance will also need to be greatly expanded to meet the needs of a sector which seeks to support frail aged people to live in their own homes.
There will be far reaching economic and social implications arising form this trend, and it brings with it many opportunities for business development and investment and many challenges as systems become stretched beyond capacity. As a region we will need to be pro-active and creative to find solutions to these challenges.
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