First Name*

Last Name*



Appointment Time*


Please Call To Confirm








We'll even come to you

How age-friendly is Western Australia and Perth - Health and Wellbeing

Governments in Western Australia provide varying levels of age-friendliness to the community. While most are “doing something” only a few have embraced government frameworks and action plans such as the Active Ageing policy framework launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which aims at optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order t enhance the quality of life as people age. The Framework outlines that seniors are most suited to identify what they need in their community. Hence the first step to an age-friendly community is to gather information from the community.

Health and Wellbeing

Overall Western Australians enjoy one of the highest standards of health in the world; this can be seen by comparing the life expectancy and infant mortality rates to other countries around the world. It is important to keep in mind that these findings are based on averages and that there are pockets of the community where poorer health outcomes are a reality.

Due to the ageing population, the demand for health services is expected to increase.

Promoting Health and wellbeing and access to essential services are the top two points listed in planning for an age-friendly WA framework. It is based on the principle that prevention is better than a cure and focuses on encouraging healthy living, both in earlier and later life. Its goal is to lower the incidences of avoidable chronic diseases and injury by facilitating improvements in health behaviours and environments throughout the life.  A lot of different research outlines the benefits of regular exercise throughout life. There are many types of activities that are suited for older adults, amongst others it has been suggested that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of Falls as maintaining balance, amongst other factors is linked to maintaining core strength, which is often lost over the years due to failing to train those muscles.

Falls in older adults often result in severe injuries, which may require hospitalisation or surgery. Department of Health statistics shows that in 2013, 92.4 per 1000 people aged 80 years and over attended a metropolitan emergency department as a result of a fall.  

A lack of physical activity is another issue that is linked to obesity and chronic disease. Statistics show that the percentage of obese people has risen from 56% in 1995 to 63% in 2011. This research suggests that the ageing population may result in a larger burden of lifestyle-related diseases than in the past. In 2011 5.4& of total hospital costs was attributed to dealing with excess body mass through health conditions such as hypertensive disease, osteoarthritis, congestive heart failure and type two diabetes

It further tries to encourage ageing in place, which takes away from hospital-centred care and focuses on services that can allow a patient to stay in their home, this includes Hospital in the Home and Rehabilitation in Home programs. It aims at making community care less about dependency and more about capacity building and independence for the older person.

A critical health issue in the more elderly population is dementia. In Western Australia 30,700 people, aged 60+ have dementia. It is estimated to be second leading cause of overall burden of disease – and the primary cause of disability burden among people aged 65 and over in Australia.   WA Health (The Department of Health) and Alzheimer’s Australia have been working together to raise awareness of dementia in the community. Dementia rates in the Indigenous population are much higher, however, seem to go largely unnoticed.

The increasing number of dementia sufferers require a greater focus on research into the area as well as more beds in high care facilities. Professor Flicker put it as below: ..we have appalling data on dementia in Australia. We just do not have a good handle on that, and because of that, we do not really target our services appropriately and well. You can always argue the case one way or the other, but I think there are some things that we just do not have good information on, and because of that we probably do not have a good response. (Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Transcript of Evidence, 17 October 2014, p8)

While Perth and Western Australia are on the right path to creating more Age-friendly cities and towns, there are still many areas that need improvement. It seems that the issue of an ageing population is widely known and that preparations are made towards this. The main question being if the changes will take effect in time.


<< Back to Blogs