Ageing

Australia’s ageing population represents both an opportunity and a challenge for governments at all levels. Older Australians have valuable skills and experience to contribute to the community and the economy. But such a major demographic shift also has implications for labour supply and productivity, infrastructure needs and service costs.

Policy responses cover many sectors—from employment relations and social security, to infrastructure and housing, health and community services—and rely on coordination across government and with the private and non-government sectors. They also involve engagement with people at all life stages.

There are initiatives to harness the potential of older Australians (as employees and volunteers), address discrimination, reform living and care arrangements, build the aged care workforce, increase the coordination of health services, design ‘age-friendly communities’, prevent social isolation, and help people prepare financially for retirement.


Project examples

Click on any of the following projects for more information.

Develop NSW Population Ageing Report Card

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Develop NSW Population Ageing Report Card

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

The Office for Ageing wanted a set of NSW population indicators on ageing to inform strategic decision-makers. ARTD researched approaches and consulted with agencies to design a set of indicators for overall demographics on ageing and key life-course themes (social connections, health and wellbeing, engagement with work, living with care, and finance and security). Key data sources were the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, NSW Ministry of Health, and NSW Department of Family and Community Services. The final products were a prototype for the report card—with indicators, accompanying narrative and data visualisations—and a detailed specifications and source document.

Retirement pilot program for Australian Disability Enterprises evaluation

(Department of Social Services, 2012)

Retirement pilot program for Australian Disability Enterprises evaluation

(Department of Social Services, 2012)

ARTD evaluated a small-scale pilot of transition to retirement programs for older employees with disabilities in two Australian Disability Enterprises operating in regional Australia. The pilot provided an opportunity for FaHCSIA to understand and more comprehensively document the retirement and ageing issues of Australian Disability Enterprise employees, and to determine the capacity of Australian Disability Enterprises to assist in retirement planning and the capacity of communities to include older people with disability in mainstream activities.

Review of the Interagency Protocol for Responding to Abuse of Older People

(Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2011)

Review of the Interagency Protocol for Responding to Abuse of Older People

(Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2011)

The Interagency Protocol for Responding to the Abuse of Older People 2007 provides the NSW Government's framework for responding to abuse of older people living in community settings. ARTD conducted a strategic review of the protocol. We assessed the degree to which key agencies' policies and procedures complied with the protocol. We facilitated workshops with regional interagency committees including representatives from government agencies and non-government organisations to understand which aspects of the protocol were working as intended and which were not. We made recommendations to improve the protocol and developed an implementation and monitoring strategy to ensure consistent and appropriate whole-of-government responses to the abuse of older people.

Evaluation of resources for mature aged workforce in the NSW public sector

(Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2011)

Evaluation of resources for mature aged workforce in the NSW public sector

(Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2011)

The SageCentre website provides specialist information and resources to help NSW Government agencies manage the risks associated with large numbers of experienced employees beginning to retire, particularly the loss of critical skills and knowledge. It also provides information to help public sector employees plan for retirement. ARTD’s evaluation assessed the appropriateness, usefulness and effectiveness of the website for employees. We reviewed the literature on strategies for managing a mature aged workforce and interviewed policy staff in other Australian jurisdictions, reviewed the website against accessibility standards, assessed patterns of use through Google analytics data and numbers of registered users from different agencies, surveyed recent users and interviewed human resources managers about their perceptions of the site. To assess the cost effectiveness of the website, we conducted an analysis of users’ willingness to pay. Our report identified the need for complementary strategies to support older employees and their managers, other topics to be covered on the website, and strategies to address the prevalent negative attitudes about the productivity of mature age workers.

Evaluation of social inclusion frail aged projects

(Lifeline Australia, 2009)

Evaluation of social inclusion frail aged projects

(Lifeline Australia, 2009)

In 2008, the Australian Government provided 21 one-off grants to a range of community organisations that provide frail older people with emergency meals, shelter and clothing, and with services that encourage and support social re-engagement. Lifeline Australia received a 12-month grant to support social re-engagement among frail older people living in the community, which they used to design and trial a telephone-based support program in one urban area and one regional area. ARTD worked with Lifeline to review the literature on approaches to social re-engagements and design the programs. We worked with stakeholders to develop a logic model and evaluation framework for the program and subsequently evaluated the trial. We conducted focus groups with volunteers, interviewed Lifeline staff and older people who participated in the program, and analysed monitoring data to understand how the program had been implemented in the two different contexts and how it was working. Our report identified key success factors and challenges in delivering social re-engagement services to older people to inform Lifeline’s considerations about future work in this space.