In 2023, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released a groundbreaking report that revealed something remarkable: Australians are living longer than ever before. As seniors down under continue to crack the centuries, it’s essential to understand the factors contributing to this trend and how older Australians can make the most of their extended golden years.
The AIHW Report 2023
The AIHW Report 2023 provides crucial insights into the state of life expectancy in Australia, with the following key findings.
Steady Increase in Life Expectancy
Over the past few decades, there has been a steady increase in life expectancy in Australia. This positive trend can be attributed to several factors, including improved healthcare, better living conditions, and increased awareness of healthy lifestyles.
For instance, since the 1960s, the AIHW noted that life expectancies for Australians increased by 13.7 years for men and 11.2 years for women. As such, evaluators estimated that people born from 2019 to 2021 can possibly live beyond 81 years old (81.3 years for men and 85.4 for women).
The possibility that some Aussies have gone far to reach centenary levels. However, the report tags a rising number of deaths amongst them.
The AIHW assessed that 94 per cent of all old age deaths from 1964 to 2021 were from people between 100 to 104 years old. Supercentenarian (over-110 years old) deaths are very rare. In fact, the most recent Aussie supercentenarians to pass away in very recent years were Dexter Kruger (2021 at 119 years, 188 days), Frank Mawer (2022 at 110 years and one month), and Gwen Moore (2023 at 111 years and three months), leaving SA resident Catherina van der Linden as the oldest living Australian logging in at barely 112 years as of this writing.
High Quality of Life for Seniors
The AIHW report highlights that longer lives are often healthier lives. Many seniors in Australia are enjoying a high quality of life well into their later years. This is partly due to advancements in medical science and healthcare services, which have allowed seniors to manage chronic conditions effectively and maintain their independence.
Factors Contributing to Extended Life Expectancy
Several factors contribute to the extended life expectancy in Australia:
- Healthcare Accessibility. Australia boasts a robust healthcare system with accessible services for seniors, including regular check-ups and preventative care.
- Healthy Lifestyles. A growing awareness of the importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking has led to healthier lives for many seniors.
- Social Engagement. Staying socially engaged and mentally active can help seniors maintain cognitive function and overall well-being.
Staying Healthy in Your Golden Years
As Australian seniors continue to celebrate more birthdays, it’s essential to make the most of these extended years. Here are some tips for seniors to stay healthy and vibrant in their golden years:
Prioritise Preventative Care
Routine examinations and screenings have the potential to detect health issues at an early stage when they are more easily treatable. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for vaccinations, screenings, and health assessments.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
A healthy diet is crucial at any age, but it becomes even more critical as you get older. Consume a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products in your diet. Restrict your consumption of processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats.
Physical activity is vital for maintaining mobility and strength. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Quality sleep is essential for overall well-being. Sleep for seven to nine hours each night. If you encounter difficulty with sleep, consult your healthcare provider for guidance.
Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining bodily functions. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and limit caffeine and alcohol consumption, which can contribute to dehydration.
Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on health. Engage in stress-reducing practices like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or tai chi.
Regularly Review Medications
If you take medications, review them regularly with your healthcare provider. Ensure that you are taking the correct doses and that there are no adverse interactions between your medications.
Engage Your Mind
Mental stimulation holds equal significance to physical activity. Read, do crossword puzzles, play brain-training games, or take up a new hobby to keep your mind sharp.
Maintain Social Connections
Isolation from social interactions can adversely impact mental and emotional well-being. Stay connected with friends and family, join clubs or groups that interest you, and engage in community activities.
While longer life expectancy is undoubtedly a positive development, it can present financial challenges for seniors. Here are some financial aid options for long-living seniors in Australia:
- Age Pension. The Age Pension is a government-provided income support payment for eligible seniors. It helps cover living expenses and is subject to income and asset tests. Eligibility criteria include age and residency requirements.
- Superannuation. Many Australians have superannuation savings, which can provide financial support in retirement. Consider seeking advice on how to manage and maximise your superannuation savings; even when you possibly have a very large super account.
- Seniors Health Card. The Seniors Health Card can provide concessions on various healthcare services and prescription medications, reducing the financial burden of healthcare costs.
- Aged Care Support. For seniors requiring aged care services, the government offers support through the Home Care Package program and residential aged care subsidies.
- Home Equity Release. For seniors who own their homes, home equity release options like reverse mortgages can provide a source of income or a lump sum to help with living expenses.
As you age, it’s essential to have a solid financial plan in place. Consult with a financial advisor to ensure that you have sufficient resources to support your extended retirement.
The A.S.A.G. Reverse Mortgage
As Australian seniors continue to defy expectations and enjoy extended lifespans, it’s vital to make the most of these golden years. Australia’s commitment to accessible healthcare and the quality of life for seniors has contributed significantly to this longevity trend. It’s a testament to the country’s dedication to ensuring that all Australians, regardless of age, can enjoy a high quality of life.
Saving for retirement is a wise and necessary step towards ensuring a secure and comfortable financial future. With the lengthening of life expectancy, Retirement Planning is more crucial than ever before.
For retired homeowners, an equity release facility could be a practical option to enhance their retirement income. The A.S.A.G. Reverse Mortgage allows homeowners to unlock the equity in their homes, receiving regular payments or a lump sum. While this can offer additional financial support, it is important to study its terms and conditions and potential impact on your estate.
If you need more information on how our reverse mortgage works, our team is available to address any queries you may have. Feel free to reach out to us by either phone on 1300 002 724 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moreover, you can initiate the process by using our free tool provided below. This tool allows you to evaluate the amount of equity available in your home.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute official financial or medical advice. The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no working relationships with any government agency or medical professional. Please consult your financial advisor for your specific retirement finance goals and your GP for health and wellness solutions.