Rural Councils Victoria engaged Verso Consulting in 2019 to undertake the development of an Older Persons Services and Accommodation Program. The program intended to support the capacity for rural communities to attract and retain older people.
Verso undertook extensive consultations with key stakeholders, reviewed relevant literature and data and produced global estimates using formulas to quantify potential demand combined with age specific demographic data projections.
Research was undertaken covering: changes to Commonwealth aged care programs since 2011, transfer of the Home and Community Care Program (HACC) to the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), Aged Care Financing Authority publications, quarterly Department of Health Home Care Data Reports, Aged Care Financial Performance Survey reports, Commonwealth Aged Care Services Lists, the Aged Care Guide and Aged Care Approvals Round residential bed allocations.
Verso found that the population of people aged 65 years and older in rural Victoria is projected to grow by some 100,000 people to more than 230,000 by 2031. This will represent 15% of Victoria’s population of people and will account for 27% of rural Victoria’s population. This demographic shift necessitates the provision of critical goods and services (particularly housing and health care services) to ensure older people are able to remain in their current community, and to attract older people to make rural Victoria their home. It also creates an opportunity for rural communities to benefit from the knowledge and experience older people can provide to the community.
Verso’s final project report can be downloaded from Rural Council Victoria’s website.