As Australia’s population continues to age, there is an increased population living with chronic disease and disability. This is because chronic disease and disability are more prevalent in the elderly. This is especially the case as survival rates from many chronic diseases increases, resulting in decreased quality of living and independence.
Chronic disease is the greatest issue for Australia’s health and has a large burden on the population. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and respiratory disease and mental health issues continue to impact Australian society and can lead to debilitating conditions. For example, a person who survives a stroke may never walk again and may end up in a nursing home for the rest of their life.
With rising survival rates from cancers, cardiovascular disease and other major diseases, prevalence of people living with chronic disease and disability is rising and increases the population of the elderly.
The more common chronic disease and disability amongst the elderly include:
- 53% of the have a disability
- 49% have arthritis
- 38% have high blood pressure
- 35% have hearing loss
- Over 1 in 5 (22%) have cardiovascular disease
- 15% have diabetes
- 7% have cancer
- 20% have vision problems, and
- 93% of people with dementia are elderly
With an increased population living with chronic disease and disability, comes an increase in health care expenditure and the need for aged care facilities.