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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008   
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Contents >> Disability and Carers >> NEED FOR ASSISTANCE

NEED FOR ASSISTANCE

Age

In the 2006 Census, around 19,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (4%) were identified as needing assistance with self-care (eating, washing, dressing or toileting), physical mobility or communication.

Among those needing assistance, the median age for Indigenous males was 41 years, and for females, 49 years. The corresponding median ages for non-Indigenous males and females who needed assistance were 61 years and 75 years respectively. The prevalence of need for assistance with core activities increased noticeably from about 35 years of age onwards for both Indigenous men and women. This is consistent with the patterns for chronic long-term health conditions such as heart/circulatory diseases and diabetes which show onset some ten years earlier in the Indigenous population than in the non-Indigenous population (ABS 2006c).

Among Indigenous children aged 0-14 years, need for assistance was higher for boys than for girls. Male age-specific rates of core activity need for assistance were also higher than female rates for all five-year age groups from 15-69 years. A larger proportion of Indigenous females than males were aged 70 years or over in 2006 and Indigenous women were more likely than men in this age group to need assistance with core activities (table 5.5).

5.5 INDIGENOUS PERSONS WHO NEEDED ASSISTANCE WITH CORE ACTIVITIES - 2006

Indigenous
Indigenous to non-Indigenous rate ratios
Males(a)(b)
Females(a)(b)
Males
Females
Age group (years)
no.
%
no.
%
ratio
ratio

0-4
388
1.4
238
0.9
1.2
1.3
5-9
963
3.3
525
1.9
1.2
1.3
10-14
970
3.3
556
2.0
1.3
1.5
15-19
697
2.8
422
1.8
1.6
1.5
20-24
461
2.5
318
1.7
1.8
1.6
25-29
381
2.6
308
1.9
1.9
1.8
30-34
482
3.2
351
2.1
2.1
1.8
35-39
572
4.0
562
3.4
2.2
2.3
40-44
711
5.6
689
4.8
2.6
2.5
45-49
742
6.9
786
6.6
2.7
2.7
50-54
773
9.0
817
8.7
2.8
2.8
55-59
796
12.7
787
11.3
2.6
2.8
60-64
688
16.3
717
15.1
2.5
3.0
65-69
500
18.5
578
17.4
2.8
2.8
70-74
382
21.6
581
25.0
2.4
2.5
75 and over
642
33.3
1 232
40.3
1.5
1.3
Total
10 147
4.5
9 468
4.1
1.2
0.9
Total - Age standardised(c)
. .
7.5
. .
7.2
1.9
1.7

. . not applicable
(a) Components may not add to total due to perturbation of component data.
(b) Rates are age-specific so will not add to 100%.
(c) Age standardised to the 2001 final estimated resident population (ERP).
Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing


Comparison with non-Indigenous people

Indigenous people were more likely than non-Indigenous people to need assistance with core activities, regardless of age. Among Australian children aged 0-14 years in 2006, Indigenous children were 1.3 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to need assistance (i.e. more than would usually be required for a child of their age) with self-care, mobility or communication. The proportion of Indigenous people needing assistance then increased to at least one-and-a-half times the rate for non-Indigenous people for age groups from 15-29 years, and to at least twice the rate among Australians in age groups from 30-74 years (table 5.5).

After adjusting for differences in the age structures of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were almost twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to need assistance with core activities in 2006.


Need for assistance by Remoteness Areas

In 2006, the proportion of Indigenous people identified as needing assistance with core activities ranged from 3% of the population in very remote parts of Australia to 5% of those living in major cities and inner regional areas. The lowest rates of need for assistance among Indigenous Australians occurred in outer regional (4%) remote (4%) and very remote (3%) areas.


Need for assistance by state/territory

Indigenous people living in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia all recorded higher rates of need for assistance with core activities (around 5%) than the national rate (4%), while those in the Northern Territory recorded a lower rate (3%) (table 5.6).

5.6 NEED FOR ASSISTANCE, by state/territory and remoteness - Indigenous persons - 2006

Needs assistance(a)
Non-remote
Remote
Total
Does not need assistance
Total(b)(c)
Population in remote areas
%
%
%
%
%
no.
%

New South Wales
5.0
4.0
5.0
88.7
100.0
138 508
5.1
Victoria
5.2
10.5
5.3
88.0
100.0
30 142
0.1
Queensland
4.1
2.7
3.8
90.1
100.0
127 581
22.2
South Australia
5.0
4.2
4.9
88.3
100.0
25 556
18.6
Western Australia
3.9
3.9
3.9
87.6
100.0
58 709
41.5
Tasmania
5.2
5.9
5.2
90.7
100.0
16 766
3.5
Northern Territory
3.6
3.2
3.3
86.8
100.0
53 662
80.2
Australian Capital Territory
3.9
-
3.9
92.9
100.0
3 875
-
Australia(d)
4.6
3.3
4.3
88.8
100.0
455 027
23.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) With core activities of self-care, mobility and/or communication.
(b) Includes Indigenous persons in each state/territory who did not answer the need for assistance questions.
(c) Components may not add to total due to perturbation of component data.
(d) Includes Other Territories.
Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing



Living arrangements

In 2006, the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people identified as needing assistance with core activities (17,700 or 90%) were living in private dwellings, with around one in five (3,300 people) in households that required at least one additional bedroom. For more information on overcrowding, refer to Chapter 4 and the Glossary. The remaining 1,900 Indigenous people needing assistance (10%) were living in non-private dwellings - primarily nursing homes, accommodation for the retired or aged, hospitals and hostels for the disabled. Reflecting the different age structures of the two populations, a much smaller proportion of Indigenous people who needed assistance were living in nursing homes or accommodation for the retired or aged (5%) compared with non-Indigenous people (15%) (table 5.7).

5.7 PERSONS WHO NEEDED ASSISTANCE(a), by Indigenous status and living arrangements - 2006

Indigenous
Non-Indigenous
no.
%
no.
%

Private dwellings
17 691
90.2
630 208
80.7
Non-private dwellings
Hospital
380
1.9
15 797
2.0
Nursing home or accommodation for the retired or aged (not self-contained)
954
4.9
119 157
15.3
Hostel for the disabled
194
1.0
7 655
1.0
Other non-private dwelling
391
2.0
7 934
1.0
Total
1 919
9.8
150 543
19.3
Total(b)
19 616
100.0
780 817
100.0

(a) With core activities of self-care, mobility and/or communication.
(b) Includes persons in offshore and migratory CDs.
Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing






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