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The Olympics Reminded me Why Aged Care Software Planning is Important

Watching the Olympics over the last few weeks acted as a scary reminder of how quickly the years fly by. It does not feel like 16 years ago that the nation was a buzz with the Sydney Olympics and now here we are waving goodbye to Rio. 

So, when I was reading some data this week on population projections, it didn't feel out of place to consider projections for the next twenty-five to fifty years to be relevant for what we are doing today. 

Our future population

As reported by The Australian Government Treasury, our population is ageing, predominately because of two key factors.

First of which is our declining birth rates. Australian families are having fewer children than years gone by, to a level where in the last 20 years our birth rate has fallen below the replacement rate. This statistic has been declining since the late 1960's.

The other key factor impacting our ageing population is our life expectancy. Today we are expected to live to around 78 years old. By 2042 this life expectancy is projected to reach 83 years old.

Looking even further ahead, by 2061 the percentage of people in Australia aged 85 years and older will increase to 5% from the 2012 level of 2%. People aged 65 years old and over is also on the increase, with this category projected to increase to 22% of Australia's population by 2061.

Aged care software for the futureThe Australian Government Institute of Health and Welfare's authoritative information and statistics to promote better health and well-being states that by 2064 we can expect there will be 9.6 million people aged 65 and over.

Aside from an ageing population, there are going to be a lot more people in Australia in the years ahead too.

Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections1 show that by 2061 we could have a resident population as high as 48.3 million people. That is almost exactly twice our projected August 2016 population, based on the live ABS population clock.

Just think, in the same amount of time since the Munich games, our country's population could double and the percentage of older Australians could grow substantially. Therefore, you need to plan for how your organization will take advantage of these opportunities.

Future generations

The other important thing to remember when planning, is that you need to have the right workforce in play in the short term so they can help with the ongoing transition.

To help set the scene, Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections1 show that today's toddlers will fall in the median age of Australia's population by 2061, which is projected to be between 41 and 44.5 years old. So let's consider how your organization can plan for the current wave of the next generation workforce.

Before the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, will be well and truly immersed into the Australian workforce. It is therefore important to understand that the habits and approach to work this generation has, as it is significantly different to the generations before them.

For example, a PwC report, Millennials at work - Reshaping the workplace, found that this generation has a better command of key business tools than their senior counterparts. As employees, they are ambitious and look for opportunities to keep learning and progress their careers.

Attracting and retaining the right people to take your organization forward is an important piece of your future success puzzle.

Aged care software for the future

If we use the last twenty years as a guide for the future, then it is hard to know what aged care software platforms we will be using ten years from now, let alone fifty years from now.

However, if you want to prepare your organization for the future, then staying abreast of best practice technology and upgrading your systems as and when required will allow your business to be in a position of continuous improvement. Therefore, preparing for 2061 should also be done with an eye to preparing your technology in the short term.

To help you determine whether your organization is well prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead, I have listed 10 important elements, which can help you identify whether a more comprehensive review of your aged care software is required.

  • Is your aged care software developed with industry and location specificity?
  • Does the software vendor provide knowledgeable and helpful local support?
  • Are there varied implementation options?
  • Can the software provide scalability to meet your growth plans?
  • Does the software comply with Australian Government aged care legislation?
  • Does the software facilitate Medicare's online claiming?
  • Is there effective software integration with third-party clinical care solutions?
  • Does the software provide integrated departmental features?
  • Does the software contain extensive reporting and performance management tools?
  • Does the software provide flexibility, self-sufficiency, and mobility?

Posted by Lee Robbins, Senior Product Manager, Senior Living Solutions, Epicor Software

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