Older women are much more likely to use a home care package than men, making up two out of three community aged care consumers, new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.

Women were also greater users of home care packages at all ages and across all levels of packages, the report found.

The data released by the AIHW this month highlights calls by men’s health advocates to address the barriers older men experience to using services more frequently. Community Care Review has previously reported on the underutilisation of aged care services by men and the need for new service strategies to better target this cohort.

According to the report, one-quarter of all home care clients were born in a non-English speaking country and 3.8 per cent identified as indigenous.

The average age of recipients was 82.3.

However, overall only 2.5 per cent of people over 65 received a package of care in their home.

At 30 June 2014, there were 263,788 government-funded aged care places across Australia, with one-quarter (66,149) of these places delivered as a home care package.

While the government is progressively increasing the number of home care packages available to consumers, investment in residential care makes up the bulk of government expenditure.

In 2013-14 financial year, two-thirds ($10 billion) of government expenditure in aged care was spent on residential aged care, and a quarter ($3.8 billion) on community-based aged care services.

Across Australia, 504 home care service providers and 2,212 service outlets delivered the operational packages.

According to the analysis, 8 per cent of people received home care services within a week of their ACAT approval, 31 per cent within a month and 59 per cent within three months.

The report did not contain analysis of the government’s home support program.

Read the report in full: Residential aged care and Home Care 2013-14

Related CCR coverage: Where are all the blokes? Services need strategies to reach older men

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